Darwin on Love, D Loye

Tags: David Loye, Darwin, Darwin notes, John Bowlby, philosopher Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, voyage of the Beagle, 20th century, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Riane Eisler, Lewis Henry Morgan, Charles, Fanny Owen
Content: Copyright David Loye 2009 Darwin in love This is a private advance edition of Darwin in Love printed exclusively for prospective endorsers, publishers, and key book sellers. Notes, references, and index are being completed See www.davidloye.com for author bio, background in science, books currently in print, photos, etc. If you are interested in endorsing or publishing this book, please write or phone me. David Loye [email protected] 831-624-8337 website: www.davidloye.com
Other books by the author The Healing of a Nation The Leadership Passion The Knowable Future The Sphinx and the Rainbow The Partnership Way (with Riane Eisler) An Arrow Through Chaos The Evolutionary Outrider, Editor The Great Adventure, Editor Bankrolling Evolution Measuring Evolution Brave Laughter Return to Amalfi Tangled Tales of the Book Trade The Parable of the Three Villages 3,000 Years of Love 100 Days of Love 1001 Days of Love The River and the Star
DARWIN iN LOVE A new story of evolution for all ages DAVID LOYE Copyright David Loye 2009
"A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all the better." --Charles Darwin, Autobiography, p.54
CONTENTS
PROLOGUE DARWIN IN LOVE
A book for everybody, young, old, in-between.
PART I
THE DISCOVERY OF LOVE
ONE
LOVE'S VOYAGE
Fanny Owen. The secret voyage of the Beagle. The other Fannies. The fourth Fanny.
TWO
HOME AT LAST
Love's testing. The love of God vs. the love of nature. Charles' and Emma's orchestra.
PART II
THE PARABLES OF LOVE
THREE
THE SEASON OF LOVE
Female and male of the species. Pheasants, grasshoppers, frogs, and fish.
FOUR
THE SEASON OF BATTLE
Brehm's Baltz.
FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN
LOVE CALLS, SONGS, DANCES, AND ANTICS The song of songs. Upsetting the macho apple cart. HOLMES INVESTIGATES The case of the pheasant's good taste. The case of the jaded lover. The case of the blase elders. The case of the pushy bullfinch. The case of the joyful chimpanzees. LOVE AMONG THE BARNACLES The weird world of the barnacle. The love life of the barnacle. Ibla Cumingii. LOVE WITH THE PERFECT STRANGER Slipping around in the bird world. A MOTHER'S LOVE Darwin's mother. Darwin's illness. One more theory. A DOG'S LOVE The ways of a dog's love. The discovery for which there was no name. The prankster. vii
ELEVEN
IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE
Play on: A Darwinian paean. The universal song. What we can feel. A hair-raising tale.
TWELVE
THINGS WE LOVE
The love of beauty. The love of truth. The love of freedom. The love of war. The love of the chase. Love of the surf. Love of the home place.
THIRTEEN OUR WAYS AND WILES OF LOVE
The promiscuous and the proper. Messing around in the deep past. Human ways and wiles. The expression of emotion in man and animals. The happy years.
FOURTEEN SOME THEORETICAL VICISSITUDES OF LOVE
The other side of the coin. Super Neos Pro and Con. Sex in evolution.
PART III
THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE
FIFTEEN
THE BOND OF LOVE
The universal embrace. Letters from around the world.
viii
SIXTEEN
DARWIN ON WOMEN
Darwin and the sin of sins.
SEVENTEEN THE LOVE OF GOODNESS The lost explorers of goodness. Darwin and the love of goodness. Looking ahead.
EIGHTEEN THE UPWARD SHOVE OF LOVE IN EVOLUTION
The early notebooks. Sex, love, and war. The love theory.
NINETEEN THE FATEFUL CHOICE AND THE SCANDAL THAT WASN'T
The fateful choice. The scandal that wasn't.
EPILOGUE WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ­ AND YET CAN BE
NOTES AND REFERENCES
ix
PROLOGUE DARWIN IN LOVE This is a book about the love of a great scientist for just about everything we're coming to value more as life on our planet Earth becomes more precious with each passing year. It's also about the wonder of the great adventure open to all of us we call evolution. My own plunge into the love story and the great adventure came late one night. Unable to sleep, I decided to do something that later I discovered that, in over a century, no one else had ever bothered to do with the work of Charles Darwin. Ironically, it was something any computer literate eight-year-old can do with ease today. I had a CD-ROM copy of Darwin's famous The Descent of Man. I decided to see what he actually had to say about evolution in this book. So first I tried what most people think of when you either say or write about "Darwin" or "evolution" today. Into the slot for FIND I entered the phrase we've all heard or read it must be thousands of times by now. Survival of the fittest. I had expected this would take some time but in a flash the "finder" zipped through the whole book, stopping only twice. And in one of these times Darwin was actually apologizing for ever using the term "survival of the fittest"! Could it possibly be that Darwin himself really didn't believe "survival of the fittest" was the most important thing driving evolution? Could it be ...? On impulse, I decided to try a word poles apart for meaning. As the most improbable of all words I could think of, I decided to try "love." 1
David Loye I typed it into the FIND slot, and then sat there amazed as the computer dutifully zipped, then stopped over and over again, until my count showed that Darwin had written 95 times about love in Descent! The next morning, rather excited by now, I decided to use the CD to hop through Descent. As over a garden pond one might go on stepping stones in search of frogs or water lilies, I tracked the word love to see what Darwin had to say wherever I landed. Soon I was intrigued to find all the little stories about animal life that I've brought together here in Part II. Not only were they delightful but of great scientific interest. They were also of a special quality that became rare following Darwin's time. These stories, I saw, not only provided the data for his theories. They fairly sparkled with Darwin's gift for story telling and all the other little touches that bring to life what so often lies flat, cold, dead, and dreadfully dull in the pages of most science books today. In particular, I discovered many of these stories were immensely funny. I decided to write them up in short chapters and see what I had. When Ifinished, I saw what I believe has never before been seen with such immediacy. This was not the Darwin of the photos. This was not the gloomy old bearded fellow with mournful eyes hanging in sacks of flesh beneath the portentous brow. Nor was this simply a collection of amusing animal stories--though it could be enjoyed as that and no more, if one wished. This was Darwin in Love, not as a mere sidelight to more important things, but as a matter of immense importance to him both personally and scientifically. A Book for Everybody, Young, Old, or In Between I saw, then, I had to write this book. And not as just one more popular or scientific book of the customary kind. Ideally this would 2
Dawin in Love be a book with an appeal for the young. For at many of the 95 places where Darwin wrote about love was a real life animal story as appealing as the fictions of Kenneth Graham in Wind in the Willows. They brought to mind all the other great classics of children's literature, from Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck to Dr.Suess's Horton the Elephant and Yertle the Turtle. Bypassing Parts I and III, which are more for teen-agers and adults, I saw that among the animal stories of Part II a large number could be selected by parents and teachers for retelling children of a real life world as entrancing as fiction. Ideally it would also be a book for the sex-obsessed and often bewildering years of the teen-ager. Survey after confidential survey tells us they already know, and in many cases practice, far more than either their parents or their teachers think they do. These simple, natural, non-prurient stories of the sex as well as the love life of animals could engage and reassure adolescents trying to understand what sex is, and what love is, and how the two do or don't inter-relate. It could even be a book to lure scientists, ministers, teachers, writers, hordes of scholars, and all the rest of us away from the mess we've made of the true glory and wonder of evolution. It could advance the kind of understanding and story that's needed for a better 21st century. For not only did Darwin write 95 times about love. I found he also wrote 92 times about moral sensitivity in this book in which he tells us he's now writing about what most specifically, surely, and powerfully advances human evolution. I saw that if this book could reach a wide readership, it might offer a small but vital clear stream of renewal into the muddy river of our time of mind. For surely the true and essentially long lost full story of Darwin in love might help provide a new sense within both young and old of the moral responsibility of each of us. It could serve to show why, and how, we can, each of us, live the kind of lives that 3
David Loye advance human evolution, rather than give in blindly to all that would distort it or drive us backward. To provide the right setting for the Parables of Love in Part II, I further saw I needed to tell the love story of Darwin himself, as a teen-ager, on the famous voyage of the Beagle around the world, in his love and marriage to Emma, of their children and remarkably lively and loving life together as a family. This would become Part I, The Discovery of Love. And then, to close, in Part III, The Triumph of Love, I would need to show the expansion of the love story of Darwin into its wide meaning for the lives and future for our own children and grand-children upon this earth. Had I thought all this out carefully in advance, I'm sure I would have known that to get all this into one book would have been impossible. But not knowing it was impossible, on impulse I went ahead and did it. So that is this book. I hope you enjoy it! 4
Part I: The Discovery of Love 5
ONE LOVE'S VOYAGE If anyone could qualify as an expert on love, it was Darwin's grandfather Erasmus. A doctor known for his uncanny diagnostic ability, a freethinking progressive and the prolific author of formal prose and love poetry ("Ah, who unmoved that radiant brow descrys, sweet pouting lips, and blue voluptuous eyes?"), Erasmus Darwin foreshadowed his grandson's passion for solving the mystery of evolution with his own book Zoonomia. He also compiled quite a record in the pursuit of love. After being left a widower at age 39 with five children, Erasmus embarked merrily on a decade of affairs that left him with two more children, this time illegitimate by a governess. This venturing was culminated (after her husband's death) with his marriage to a beautiful patient with whom he had been having still another affair. To the household now including his five legitimate and two illegitimate children, she brought her own departed husband's illegitimate child. It was an age for such doings openly, when in England, as Darwin biographers Adrian Desmond and James Moore observe, "polite society seemed to be cemented by its adulteries and menages." But grandson Charles was a much different sort of person. Not only was he born into what became the Victorian Age, with a standard for keeping up appearances whatever the underlying sexual reality might be. Portly, grey bearded, his gaze in photos depicted as somber or mournfully hollow-eyed, he also became the unquestionable international symbol for staid and sober fidelity. Before that, however, his eye was lively and his fancy did a bit of straying. 6
Dawin in Love Fanny Owen Charles was eighteen, Fanny was twenty, her sister Sarah was twenty three. The Owen sisters lived not too far from the Darwin home. They had been close to Charles' sisters Caroline, Catherine, Susan, and Marianne since childhood. At the time Charles was very much into riding and shooting and everything else that went into the sporting life for the sons of Shropshire squires. And so it was that his rides increasingly began to take him over to Woodhouse to see Fanny and Sarah. They were "full of fun and nonsense," and of an age when many boys flocked to them. But soon young Charles seems to have moved beyond the others in their interests and affections. He, it seems, had entered that special category for the dallying young woman, looking ahead to that day she would no doubt marry, of being definitely eligible. For a while it was a game of playful pursuit for all three, Charles attracted to both sisters, and both to him. But then it became Fanny who most intrigued and then wholly entranced him. Petite, a natural charmer, and goodlooking enough to be considered the stereotypical raven-haired beauty, Fanny Owen was also notably feisty and independent-minded. Where other girls might stick to their painting or knitting, Fanny liked to shoot billiards and ride in the hunt with the boys. One day Charles and Fanny rode off into the forest together and so began the many ups and downs of the great early passion of his life. The standard biographies dutifully note that, as a first tentative choice of profession, Charles went off to medical school in far off Edinburgh. The drama customarily stressed for this episode is that this was done to please his autocratic father, a notable doctor of the time. It was the pressure of this parental expectation that kept him there against his will, it is stressed, for as he couldn't stand the sight of blood he seems to have recognized early on he could never be a successful surgeon. But from the perspective of his passion for Fanny 7
David Loye we see now that, although this was generally a minor matter for biographies hastening to get on to more important things, it was in fact a major matter for the actuality of life for Charles in those days. Here he was in Edinburgh grubbing through his studies, there she was back home doing goodness knew what between the brief bits of time given to her letters to him. Medical school became an interminable stretch as he worried about all the other eligible young suitors riding freely to and from Woodhouse to see Fanny. The day came when he could no longer stand it. When Fanny found out from a letter of his to his sister Sarah that he was dropping out of medical school to try for the ministry, he feared he had lost her. Medical school, after all, promised far more income and prestige as a doctor. By contrast, for Fanny the ministry would clearly pose the risk of becoming known as "the poor parson's wife." She signaled, however, that all was not lost, and so began several frustrating years of soaring expectations and dashed hopes. "I have not been riding near so much as I wish," she wrote him while he was still away in school in chilly, clammy Edinburgh. He got home long enough to take off with her again to the woods. It was strawberry season and discretely back home at Woodhouse "they got down on hands and knees, then lower still, and before long were stretched out `full length' beside each other, `grazing' the luscious fruit, behaving like beasts." Then it was off again to Cambridge, now to pursue the ministry. Then it was back again for a glorious but lone week of galloping through the woods and playing billiards. "I shall...forget all my fine strokes," she wrote him afterward --ostensibly of billiards, but by now there rippled between them a private language of innuendo at which she excelled. Later there came the visit from which he returned with his lips so inflamed from kissing he had to take small doses of arsenic for relief--with the swelling and pain lasting for weeks thereafter. But it 8
Dawin in Love was downhill now. And the reason was not that Charles had a rival. For Fanny was losing out to a greater passion. Her own perception of the way things were headed came out in a letter after one long silence during which he failed to receive any letter from her. "Why did you not come home this Xmas?" she demanded. "I suppose some dear little Beetles ... kept you away." It was true. Foreshadowing the future of the scientist working long into the night, while a wife might sit drumming her fingers on the table below, he had indeed left her for "the dear little Beetles." On the surface, it was a trivial matter, a touch for biographies of the beloved eccentricity to make the sober Briton come to life. But in the actuality of Charles' life at the time it had become a significant obsession. His cousin William Fox, a fellow beetle obsessional who did thereafter go into the ministry, was a similarly avid collector. They had become great pals and impassioned correspondents. Constantly beetling together, or separately by letter comparing catches and preserving techniques, they bought ever more exquisite display cabinets for their haul. To most of us a beetle may be the one familiar squiggly thing we prefer to avoid, but so diligent and voracious were the two that they collected hundreds not just of much the same but altogether different species. But to even the beetle the young Darwin was to prove unfaithful. Ever more surely foreshadowing the future there was growing within him a passion for practically everything, which in any form, little or big, young or old, fast or slow, beckoned to him with the wondrous mystery of all the forms that life took. "I am positively in love with him," he wrote of his latest amour during this time, a horse. "Beetles, partridges & everything else, are as nothing to me." 9
David Loye The Secret Voyage of the Beagle He was twenty two when he set out on the voyage of the Beagle that was to radically change both his own and our world. If we have read or seen on television anything of Darwin, it is the familiar story of the budding young naturalist circling the earth on a ship commissioned for one purpose that wound up more greatly serving another. The official purpose of the Beagle and its cranky captain Fitzroy was to survey the harbors for information useful to the British Navy--the Empire was then still intact, with a worldwide need to stand at the ready to discretely lean on the recalcitrant nation, or attack or defend. But through Darwin's rambles ashore the sturdy little armed vessel provided an avid home-bound readership for his letters with tales of hundreds of new plants, animals, fossils, cities, countries, and the majestic vistas the artists of the time reveled in. If we are able to see Darwin from a new perspective, however-- particularly if one is of a romantic bent--it becomes apparent that the book he wrote describing the voyage is one great long love song to the wonders of this earth. In what is really one of the greatest travel books ever written, on landing in Bahia he exults in "the feelings of a naturalist who, for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest." He is overwhelmed by the "elegance of the grasses, the novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers, the glossy green of the foliage." In the wilds of Patagonia, he marvels over eruptions of lava "on the grandest scale" at a height of "three thousand feet above the level of the sea." He feels sure that if he had the space "I could prove that South America was formerly here cut off by a strait, joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, like that of Magellan." He is entranced--as I was at his age, seeing it for the first time in the Navy--by the sight of the "huge rounded masses of naked rock rising out of the most luxuriant vegetation" of Mount Corcovado near 10
Dawin in Love Rio de Janiero, and how the clouds "rolling in from seaward, formed a bank just beneath the highest point." As he was young then, unmarried, confined to sea for many months, it is interesting to see--tucked in among the phosphorescent insects, saline incrustations, and prehistoric Megatherium fossils that he trumpets in the highlights for each chapter--what is also on his mind while ashore. Traveling with the ferocious General Rosas and his army in Argentina, his eye first strays to "the young women or chinas, some of whom deserve to be called even beautiful." "Their hair was coarse, but bright and black; and they wore it in two plaits hanging down to the waist. They had a high colour, and eyes that glistened with brilliancy. Their legs, feet, and arms were small and elegantly formed. Their ankles, and sometimes their wrists, were ornamented by broad bracelets of blue beads." Elsewhere on the ride, he notes "the excellent taste displayed by the women in their dresses." But soon begins the conflict of the young Englishman's expectations with what for other cultures constitutes proper dress or beauty. Of some Indian women he encounters he complains their "only garment consists of a mantle made of guanaco skin, with the wool outside. This they wear just thrown over their shoulders, leaving their persons as often exposed as covered." Their skin is "of a dirty copper-red colour." The fabled island of Tahiti no doubt in advance conjured up expectations of luscious, bare-breasted, undulating women in hula skirts, but on finally getting ashore he is quickly disenchanted. "The women are tattooed in the same manner as the men, and very commonly on their fingers. One unbecoming fashion is now almost universal: namely, shaving the hair from the upper part of the head, in a circular form, so as to leave only an outer ring. The missionaries have tried to persuade the people to change this habit; but it is the fashion, and that is a sufficient answer at Tahiti, as well as at Paris." 11
David Loye Among the men, he finds that "the custom of wearing a white or scarlet flower in the back of the head, or through a small hole in each ear, is pretty." Likewise for a "crown of woven cocoa-nut leaves...also worn as a shade for the eyes." But the women "appear to be in greater want of some becoming costume even than the men." He finds the custom of nose rubbing instead of kissing of great interest, although somewhat disconcerting. "The women, on our first approach, began uttering something in a most dolorous voice. They then squatted themselves down and held up their faces. My companion standing over them, one after another, placed the bridge of his nose at right angles to theirs, and commenced pressing. This lasted rather longer than a cordial shake of the hand with us; and as we vary the force of the grasp of the hand in shaking, so do they in pressing." During the process "they uttered comfortable little grunts," which he found to be "very much in the same manner as two pigs do, when rubbing against each other." It is a notable relief for the young adventurer to find all this--or almost all--changed among the young New Zealand native women working in the houses of the missionaries. Their "clean, tidy, and healthy appearance, like that of the dairy-maids in England, formed a wonderful contrast with the women of the filthy hovels in Kororadika." But when a famous tatoo artist arrives on the scene, "the wives of the missionaries tried to persuade them not to be tattooed." But the women respond, "We really must just have a few lines on our lips; else when we grow old, our lips will shrivel, and we shall be so very ugly." Thus the observations of the circumspect young Darwin for the record and the proper British readership for Voyage of the Beagle. If we turn to his letters, however, we find more of what was off the record and on his mind. When the boat docks in Buenos Aires, he is--as all seaman ashore, myself included, 20 years old at the time--sizing up the senoritas. 12
Dawin in Love "Watching...these angels gliding by," he writes home of how he and his mates from the Beagle despaired of "foolish English women" on viewing the senoritas. Even from behind, seeing "their charming backs," he imagines "how beautiful" they must be. By 1835, when the Beagle docks in Lima, Peru, he has been more than three years at sea. In letters he admits that he "could not keep his eyes off" the tapadas, or elegant ladies of Peru. He tells the home folks he feels as though he has fallen amongst "nice round mermaids." "The...elastic gown fits the figure closely & obliges the ladies to walk with small steps which they do very elegantly & display very white silk stockings & very pretty feet," he writes his father and sisters. "They wear a black silk veil, which is fixed round the waist behind, is brought over the head, & held by the hands before the face, allowing only one eye to remain uncovered." By now the effect is what one might expect. "But...that one eye is so black & brilliant & has such powers of motion & expression, that its effect is very powerful." The Other Fannies Besides the flamboyant but fickle Fanny Owen, there were at least three other Fannies in Darwin's life. Though one can wonder about two of them, only to one of them was he ever to be officially, if only in speculation, linked romantically. Besides the manor of Woodhouse, where Fanny Owen was the big attraction, the other site of great emotional attachment for Charles, as the young Shropshire gentlemen out riding horseback from place to place , was Maer Hall, the sumptuous Wedgewood home place. Two generations earlier, the roving eye of Darwin's grandfather, old Erasmus, had been caught by the beauty of Susannah, the daughter of his good friend Josiah Wedgewood. Susannah, he decided, would be the perfect wife for his son Robert. So Erasmus pushed the idea from all quarters, Robert and Susannah were married, along came the 13
David Loye birth of Charles, and thus the stage was set for Maer Hall and the Wedgewood cousins to figure prominently in his teen years and throughout the rest of Darwin's life. The first Fanny who might have been a serious prospect for Charles was Fanny Mackintosh, who came into his life at Maer. In and out of Charles' life back in the Fanny Owen days, Fanny Macintosh was the daughter of Sir James Mackintosh, who was part of the Darwin-Wedgewood family ambience as brother of Josiah Wedgewood's wife. This meant Sir James and daughter Fanny were part of the beloved throng of three generations who flowed in and out of Maer Hall. In the life of Darwin as it has long been told, Sir James Mackintosh is a peripheral figure on a par with the bit players Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern in Shakespeare's "Hamlet." But as with the playwright Tom Stoppard's elevation of the pair to prominence in his sportive remake of the play, in actuality, as history was to play itself out in reality rather than its retelling, Mackintosh was to become one of the most important figures in the life of both the young Darwin and the old Darwin. Sir James was one of the leading theorists on the nature of morality in his time. As we are to see in Part III, he became the pivotal early inspiration for what became Darwin's "lost" theory of the drive of love in evolution. Out of those early days at Maer and the later creative ferment compounded of their memory was to emerge Daarwin's theory of what love was and is both in its most basic and intimate and its widest possible sense. It was to be shaped and honed over his lifetime by the stream of seemingly small observations and stories we are to look at in the pages ahead. It was in the end to become a theory of love as a prime driver in the evolution of our species--as well as of all species--that was like a skyrocket into the dark sky of history. All this, however, was far in the future then. At the time what could be observed was only that, whatever else might be going on at 14
Dawin in Love Maer, Sir James and young Charles were soon to be seen off walking and talking together. And because of the special relationship that developed between the two during their walks through the gardens at Maer, high there on the hill overlooking a lake, it also seems inevitable that the thoughts of Charles must have strayed to the prospect of Sir James' daughter, Fanny, as a wife. Here was this young medical school dropout hungering to find his direction in life. And here beside him on these walks was this greatly admired and successful older man, who not only offered him a viable vision of a career that might please Charles' father, but who also happened to have a very attractive daughter. Fanny Mackintosh, however, had caught the eye of Darwin's cousin Hensleigh Wedgewood. While Darwin was away voyaging on the Beagle, they married. End of chapter--except for one thing. This was the first brush with potential scandal for Charles. For a time Fanny MackintoshWedgewood's involvement with Charles' older brother Erasmus.was the prospective scandal the older generation viewed in consternation and horror while the younger generation passed it about in whispers, giggles, and the pretense of shock inviting the further build up of gossip. After the marriage, Erasmus, obviously smitten with what turned out to be a lifelong longing for Fanny, was so often there in Hensleigh's home, even with him gone, that the word went out he was spending as much time with her as the new husband did. Nothing seems to have come of it in the end. And Fanny Mackintosh-Wedgewood was to remain, along with Hensleigh, one of the closest and most faithful of lifetime friends to Charles and the woman he was to marry. The third Fanny figures as no more than a confusion to people today trying to keep track of the complex who's who involved in the intermarriages and interbreeding of the Darwin-Wedgewood- 15
David Loye Mackintosh-clans. This was Fanny Allen, aunt to Darwin's wife to be. The Fourth Fanny The fourth Fanny, however, was a rather different and ultimately tragic matter. She was one of the four Wedgewood sisters and cousins with whom Charles grew up in and out of Maer. Charlotte was the oldest. Next in line was Elizabeth. Then came two sisters who were especially attached to one another, Fanny and Emma. A favorite pastime for the large, free-floating collection of Darwin and Wedgewood aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends at Maer was match-making. As out of the horde of children, the age of eligibility neared for each of them, the others doted on the gossip that swirled about the game of trying to pair off the budding young males and females with one another. As a prospect for Charles, Charlotte seems to have figured peripherally in the match-makers' speculations, but Elizabeth not at all, as the poor girl was a hunchback only four feet tall. Of the two that were left, for reasons we can only guess at today--for she was the plainest of the two--Fanny wound up as the match-makers' choice for Charles. While he was away on the voyage of the Beagle, Charles got the first of two jolts from home concerning the Fannies. This was the shattering news of Fanny Owen's marriage to another--for the long journey seems to have revived his earlier passion. Only one month after her last letter to him, she announced her engagement to a rich youth named Biddulph. Fanny will be a "motherly old married woman when you come back," Darwin's sister Catherine teased him in a letter. Charles broke down and wept. Soon afterward Catherine wrote again to propose the other Fanny, sister to Emma. 16
Dawin in Love "A nice little invaluable Wife she would be," Catherine coaxed, "an excellent Clergyman's choice." But both Charles and fate had other things in mind. 17
TWO HOME AT LAST With Emma Wedgewood there was no rolling around in the strawberry patch that we know of. As they had known each other practically from day one, as they say, and seem to have seldom given thought to each other as a possible mate, it would have seemed rather silly. She was the granddaughter of the Josiah Wedgewood who built the fashionable pottery that turned out the plates and little boxes and objects d'art of the velvetlike blue and white ware now cherished by antique collectors. Thus, Emma was the prospective heiress to a considerable fortune. She was also a year older then Charles, born in 1808--which may have been one reason why the families had matched him off with sister Fanny. Of the four bespectacled Wedgewood girls, Emma was the best looking. Her hair was thick and brown. She had grey eyes and a high forehead. She was notably charming but considered a bit on the chaotic side, as messy as a boy. They called her "Little Miss SlipSlop." The genial pack of Darwin and Wedgewood cousins, some 15 in all, not only frequently got together for entertainments and holidays at Maer. Those of a like age also journeyed about together from time to time. Thus both Charles and Emma were in Paris together during a Wedgewood-Darwin group excursion when he was 18 and she 19. A spark might then perhaps have set her off as something more than just another cousin, but the stream of love had at that point meandered off in another direction. Already Charles had Fanny Owen on his mind. And so straight on from Paris he rode to Woodhouse to 18
Dawin in Love show off his new sophistication as a traveler to Fanny and Sarah Owen--to whom Paris or anything else French was the cause for wide eyes, exclamations, and hands clasped in wonder. But now it was years later. He had been all around the world. He was back from his great voyage, 27 years old and ready to either marry--or not to marry. Fanny Mackintosh and Hensleigh Wedgewood were not only still together, but busy producing the expected number of children. Fanny Owen was now not only Fanny Biddulph, but unhappily married. The rich young man who had seemed to offer a much better prospect than the wandering Charles had turned into an overbearing and "desperately selfish" ogre, according to Darwin's sisters. As for the other Fanny--the Wedgewood sister that both families had thought Charles might eventually marry--while he was on the voyage of the Beagle she had suddenly died at only age 26. It was all over in a single week, a wrenching case of what we would call flu today. And so here was the survivor--the sister to whom Fanny had been closest, still mourning the loss, and now the last of his eligible cousins, Emma. She was now 28. A talented pianist who had studied with Chopin, literate in French, Italian, and German, Emma had already turned down four or five marriage proposals. For a time, while Charles was away, she had also served the family purposes by helping to cover up, or quieting--it is hard to say which--the feared scandal involving older brother Ras and Fanny Wedgewood-Hensleigh by allowing herself to be considered Ras's true intended. She was also one for outdoor sports, being considered a "dragoness" at archery. It seemed a winning combination. But there were ....problems. Typically applying to his analysis the scientific method in which he was becoming not only proficient but already enjoying the first lift of a favorable reputation among the naturalists of the time, Charles measured out the pros and cons of marriage on the back of an old envelope. 19
David Loye On the con, or don't-do-it, side for marriage were most of what were otherwise obviously considerable advantages. Freedom to travel and do what he wished. Write more books unimpeded. The attractions of the free bachelor life in London with Ras, who was quite the gay blade for his time. And work unhampered on the theory of evolution--for already he had dimly sniffed out what was to prove both his chief challenge and destiny. Were he to marry--for his inheritance alone would not support the huge families plus servants expected of one of his class in that day--he would have to go to work for money. And then how would he ever get anything of his own work done--or later, most difficult thought, when surrounded by a pack of children? And say he did manage to find an academic position, what if he didn't get a well-financed "chair" and had to grub along in academic poverty with a nagging wife? Logic overwhelmingly favored remaining single, but the old, old stream of sex and love urged otherwise, and so he married. And while they did not live happily ever after--for fate threw the inevitable sorrows in their path--they were most surely very happy with each other and together. Morever, theirs was a love of the deep, tested and proven kind about which the science of the 20th century--to which such an emotion was of an interest and a subtlety beyond its capability--had practically nothing to say. For ahead then lay the irony of ironies. While the world, writhing in the throes of wave on wave of the hate of one's neighbor, was to hunger for any little scrap of love it might find, the science to which Charles was to become an inspiration and an icon focused on the building of ever larger and more devastating armies and ever bigger bombs to kill rather than love one's neighbor. 20
Dawin in Love . Love's Testing What do we have other than the fact that Charles and Emma said they did that they really loved each other? For another thing the science of the 20th century did with great ingenuity and persuasiveness was to teach us to distrust what anybody tells us about themselves, as well as to distrust ourselves. Ironically, many of those who were to most vociferously call themselves Darwinian worked to make hash of the idea of love wherever it might try to raise its hopeful head. In the case of Charles and Emma some would have cited what became the immensely popular theory that we are basically driven by selfish genes to prove that Charles mainly married Emma to get his hands on the Wedgewood fortune. Others would have rolled up a theory of parasitic symbiosis to blast other explanations aside with the claim that what held their marriage together was that Charles needed a nurse to look after him during the sickness that repeatedly laid him low throughout most of his life--and that biopsychologically Emma needed a patient to care for. There is a grain of truth here, for bound within the mix for love we're all motivated by a complex of urges rather than the simple single track for the single track mind. But as I have come to know not just through experience as a psychologist and systems scientist, but even more so from the experience open to all of us of simply living with one's eyes and mind open, there is the larger truth. And in this case, the larger truth about the love of Charles for Emma and Emma for Charles is reflected in what their home life, and the lives of their children and our own unobstructed good sense, can tell us. Two of their children died early--first a daughter, Mary, soon after birth, then a son in infancy who was clearly mentally defective, named Charles after his father. 21
David Loye Their daughter Elizabeth, called Lizzy and then later Bessy, was an odd child with a stammer who grew into a girl and woman who clung to her mother and the church, never achieving a distinctive life of her own. The rest, however, despite being riddled along with their father with much illness, were a rollicking and playful lot when young and grew up to lives of a reasonable distinction on their own. What comes across most powerfully in the glimpses one gets of the other seven children--the boys William, George, Leonard, Francis, and Horace, the girls Anne and Henrietta--was of the good times they had together as a family when young. "Horace hurled toys in the playroom...and Lenny, now two, tottered menacingly, throwing his considerable weight around," write biographers Desmond and Moore in capturing the flavor of the household. "The older boys stuck together. Willy took the lead, when his nose was not in a book. Georgy and four-year-old Franky struggled to keep up. They leapt from the banisters over the top-floor stairwell, swinging precariously on a trapeze suspended from the ceiling, with much `crashing and banging and shouting.' In the garden a swing was suspended between the twin yew trees, suitable for the girls. Stilts came in two styles, short ones on which `even girls had been known to walk,' and the pair that made a boy as big as Uncle Ras." Charles the father was a good bit of the time doing exactly what he had hoped for and feared he would not get time for if he married. He was puttering among scores of experiments in sheds around the house, or in his study endlessly writing. Morever, the children whom he had earlier feared might become an overwhelming distraction, from the age of mere toddlers on became his avid research assistants. There were rocks to be lifted to check and report the amount of worm castings and all sorts of fascinating little creatures to be fed and counted, plants as well to be watered and counted. Still later, they were to become--particularly George, Lenny, Henrietta, and Frank--the editors and proof-readers of his books. 22
Dawin in Love Because of their involvement, what emerges on re-examination is the extent to which the Darwin household operated as an amazing book factory rather than as Charles' lone venture, as is generally assumed and portrayed. And regularly--as well as whenever else there was an excuse for it, as with their many journeys to spas for his uncertain health--they would take off en masse with pets and toys and devoted servants for prolonged vacations on the Isle of Wight and other places of seaside pleasure. Evenings Emma would play the piano while they sang or read stories, many of which she wrote. It was a household notably on the expressive rather than the repressive side, each child nurtured and encouraged by both parents to find the path in life that best suited who they were and wanted to become. It was also a household of an exceptionally strong and touching loyalty to one another. This can be seen in how they flowed together, nurturing and helping and grieving for one another at the times of devastating tragedy. The worst of the tragedies was the death of Anne when she was only nine. She was a sunny child whom Charles had "delighted in cuddling and kissing" as a baby. "One day, he knew, all his love would be returned, and more. Annie would be their `solace in old age.'" Now she was dead. Not only did neither Charles nor Emma ever quite recover. Like the twist of a knife in an old wound that would not, perhaps could not, ever heal, again they faced the ultimate test of their love. The Love of God vs. the Love of Nature Early on, Charles and Emma knew there was one thing fundamental to the very life blood and being for both of them that they could not and, in all likelihood, might never agree on. A simple way of putting it would be that she was religious and he was not, but it was more complex than that. Throughout her life, firmly, quietly, and with an unswerving love she succeeded in 23
David Loye implanting in her daughters, Emma held the beliefs then prevailing in the liberal Christianity of the Unitarians of that day and age. God was both the Creator and an ever-present source of comfort. The Bible was by and large the literal record of his divine revelations. And Jesus was His divine Son, offering the way to both an abundant and everlasting life. In contrast to this steadfast faith, Darwin's beliefs were like a most uncomfortable and ill-fitting suit of clothes that kept falling apart, which one kept patching, until finally he wholly discarded it. His father, sensing what lay ahead, warned him before his marriage that he must keep his heretical doubts and true beliefs to himself. But Charles being the soul of honesty and Emma the most disarming of persuaders, early on he unburdened himself of his doubts about and difficulties with the whole business of religion. Her thoughtful, respectful, and caring response set the parameters for the long years ahead. "When I am with you," she wrote to him before the wedding, "all melancholy thoughts keep out of my head but since you are gone sad ones have forced themselves in, of fear that our opinions on the most important subject should differ widely. My reason tells me that honest and conscientious doubts cannot be a sin, but I feel it would be a painful void between us. I thank you from my heart for your openness with me and I should dread the feeling that you were concealing your opinions from the fear of giving me pain." Then quietly beginning the campaign to win him over, she urged him, as a favor, to read "the part of the New Testament I love best." It seemed an innocent request, but behind it lay Emma's greatest fear. She still suffered from the death of her beloved sister Fanny. Her only consolation was that, because of her belief in God's love, she knew that she and Fanny would be reunited in Heaven, never again to part. What Emma, loving Charles now, most greatly feared was that they would be parted at death if he were an unbeliever. 24
Dawin in Love The passage from the Gospel of St.John to which she directed him, however, did exactly the reverse of what she had hoped. To Darwin its portrayal of Jesus as "the way, the truth, and the life" providing the way to heaven was all right, as far as this went. But then came the threat. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." This was too much! How could he ever accept a faith that would consign the agnostic father he worshiped, his often impious grandfather, and so many other good people he knew to hell fire. To Emma he sent a warm, disarming reply, but although he was to wobble back and forth a bit over the years ahead, the die was cast. Later she tried again. Again there was a death that deeply disturbed both of them, in this case the six-week-old first and likely only child to be born to Charles' sister Caroline at age thirty-eight. When they were together "I cannot say exactly what I wish to say," she wrote in explaining the reason for her letter. She realized he was "acting conscientiously" in "trying to learn the truth" about nature. But she feared that his habit of "believing nothing till it is proved" would prevent him from "considering other things which cannot be proved in the same way, and which if they are true are likely to be above our comprehension." It was the old longing to be reunited with Fanny, the old fear that Charles' doubts would deny heaven to him. It would be a nightmare "if I thought we did not belong to each other forever." It was a letter he was to preserve and read again and again. One by one the deaths came--his father, the sudden seizure and passing of the daughter of his closest friend Joseph Hooker, their son Frank's wife Amy, who died after giving birth to their beloved grandchild, Bernard. Each time the jolt was once again to confront Emma and Charles with the gulf between them. But nothing again was quite as devastating as the death of Annie. 25
David Loye "Oh that she could now know how deeply, how tenderly we do still and shall ever love her dear joyous face," he mourned. For him it was the end of the attempt to find some shred of comfort or hope in the possibilities of Emma's beliefs. He would not go so far as to say there was no God. Let others believe if it gave them comfort, but for him there was neither God, nor heaven, nor hell. There was a good man, and indeed among the greatest of men, Jesus, who in the Golden Rule had tried to give our species the best advice on how we should live by caring for others as well as ourselves--this great man whom in its sad and enraging situation our world in its ignorance, brutality, and superstition had crucified. But beyond that there was only the vast and wondrous puzzle of nature that, as best he could, with a passion as intense as that popularized as customary in the saints for religion, he was trying to untangle. As he was to write in the long unpublished notebooks of his youth and in The Descent of Man, out of his love for its better aspects, he found in nature the drive of love and of moral sensitivity. Well before marriage to Emma, shortly indeed after his return from the sea voyage of the Beagle, he had discerned the roots of love and moral sensitivity within nature in the emergence of sex in evolution. Within that long ago beginning he detected the emergence of a very special first awareness of and gradually the caring for another, which over aeons of time--as we'll return to later in more detail--had become the rise of the drive of love. But out of his knowledge in the most intimate detail of the killing of one thing by another upward in the food chain there also came to fill his mind an ever sharper vision of the other side to evolution. Out of the incredibly vast decimation of the spewing forth of life whereby Natural Selection preyed upon the product of Variation, he came to knew in the greatest detail for the history of science up to that point the other side to nature that he was to write of in The Origin of Species--this inescapable side to nature that in all his life he was 26
Dawin in Love probably to confront in its most devastating intensity with the death of Annie. It was this side to nature that one could neither hate, nor love, but only, in confronting its horrifying power, find in the end some way to accept what had carried her away. "God bless her," he wrote Emma. "We must be more and more to each other my dear wife." Among the papers that he knew she would some day find, Emma's earlier letter that he had cherished over the years again surfaced after he was gone. Along the border he had scrawled the message that, because of the enduring fame that was to become his, was to send this evidence of the intensity of his love on and on into the future. "When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cried over this." Charles and Emma's Orchestra After the unexpected death of Frank's young wife Amy shortly after giving birth to their first grandson, Darwin built a new addition to Down house so that little Bernard, whom they called "Abbadubba," and Frank--who for years was his father's chief research assistant and later wrote and edited his life and letters--might come home to live with them. Based on Frank's recollections of those years, Desmond and Moore provide this picture of the very special world of science that father and son so often shared. "Spring turned the study into a pungent jungle, with seeds sprouting in biscuit tins on the chimneypiece, cabbages and runner beans in floor pots, and nasturtiums, cyclamens, cacti, and telegraph plants scattered on tables. Charles was in his element, infatuated with every rootlet and blossom. All these were his companions, he had a feeling for their `aliveness.' He talked to them unselfconsciously, praising their ingenuity or twitting the `little beggars' for `doing just what I don't want them to.' Sometimes a flower caught his eye, and 27
David Loye he would stroke it gently, childlike in his `love for its delicate form & colour.' His plants moved him, like the romances Emma read aloud in the afternoons, and when the plants moved themselves they stirred him most of all." The wonder of nature, of all that he shared with Emma and the children, of science as play and play as science, and of many another delightful quirk of life itself--it all comes together in one last vignette. Darwin had loaded the old billiard room with pots filled with earthworms. To probe for evidence of what he felt was clearly intelligence at work within the earthworm, he stumbled about the dark study at night to flash colored lights at them to see how they would react. To test their sense of smell he blew his breath at them after chewing tobacco and then after sucking on scented cotton wool. Testing food preferences, he found that raw carrot was the distinct favorite over celery and green and red cabbage. Then to test their sense of sound--as well as perhaps of some inchoate form of culture, for the evolutionary source of our sense of beauty was of great interest to him--he assembled the orchestra that was to bring a chuckle and seize the imagination of countless readers seeking to understand him over the years to this day. While he watched carefully to detect any sign of appreciation in the worms, Frank played his bassoon, Bernard blew a whistle, Bessy shouted, and Emma put the grace and fire of what she had learned from Chopin to work at the piano--but from the worms there was no response . So what was the "truth" here? Was Charles originally just out after Emma's fortune, as the dogma of selfishness and the selfish gene, which became what the 20th century was to consider Darwinian science, would infer? Just to ask the question reveals what a woefully blind and disgusting mindset old model Darwinism set in place. "Life would be a most weary blank without a dear wife to love with all one's soul," he lamented when Frank's wife Amy died. On 28
Dawin in Love his own death bed, he whispered to Emma, "My love, my precious love, tell all the children to remember how good they have always been to me." Later, looking directly at her, in a steady voice he said, "I am not the least afraid to die." And soon he was gone. 29
Part II: The Parables of Love
THREE THE SEASON OF LOVE We've looked into some unfamiliar corners of Darwin's life, as well as familiar aspects from an uncommon perspective. Now we'll do the same with the great passion of his life orienting to the deep past and to the future. This was his love of nature and the endless pleasure he found in seeking answers to its awesome mysteries. This love was sharpened, widened by, and melded with his love of science, but also by something else, too seldom remarked. This was his love of the life of the mind, but also that quality all too rare in science of heart, which makes his kind of science a benchmark for the future of our species. We will continue to dip in and out of his life in the biographical sense. But mainly our focus will be on his observations of love in action and the stories and parables into which love in action sorts itself. So let us begin with his observations of that early place in the span of love he calls "the season of love." [EN This evocative phrase recurs in Descent on pages 193, 247, 295, 302, 315, 430, and 489] Darwin notably didn't call it the mating season. Or the annual period for the fulfillment of instinctual reproductive functions. He called it the season of love. To the science the 20th century erected upon the foundation that Darwin laid down in The Origin of Species, to call it "the season of love" seemed just something poetic for reaching a "wider readership." A nice literary phrase. Good too for selling books. To Darwin it was that, but it was also profoundly scientific. Love was the word for a vital force in the evolution of our species, as well 31
David Loye as for most other species. As he could find no better word for it, why not use it? Pheasants, Grasshoppers, Frogs, and Fish "With the great majority of animals," he tells us, "the taste for the beautiful is confined, as far as we can judge, to the attractions of the opposite sex. The sweet strains poured forth by many male birds during the season of love, are certainly admired by the females." "The female has to expend much organic matter in the formation of her ova," he notes, "whereas the male expends much force in fierce contests with his rivals, in wandering about in search of the female, in exerting his voice, pouring out odoriferous secretions, et cetera." He observes what most of us can confirm from our own memories or present experiences--that the urge to connect with the opposite sex and everything we try to do about it "is generally concentrated within a short period." But now what happens during this hectic and fearful interlude in search of a potentially joyful and wonderful time? "The great vigour of the male during the season of love seems often to intensify his colours, independently of any marked difference from the female," he observes. He notes that in a letter to him an Italian anthropologist named Mantegazza claims that "the bright colours, common in so many male animals, are due to the presence and retention by them of the spermatic fluid." While this might be a pleasing notion to the male ego, Darwin says this can hardly be the case, "for many male birds, for instance young pheasants, become brightly coloured in the autumn of their first year." If we then turn to grasshoppers, what do we find? As we've seen, Darwin was not only fond of Emma's piano playing, but also the music of love in all its forms across the board for species. He notes that while male grasshoppers are amply fitted out for the music of 32
Dawin in Love mating, "the females are almost always destitute of an efficient musical apparatus." There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, "for Dr. Gruber has shewn that both sexes of Ephippiger vitium are thus provided; though the organs differ in the male and female to a certain extent." He concludes they must have been independently developed in the two sexes, "which no doubt mutually call to each other during the season of love." Moving on to the opera stars of the prehuman world, Darwin notes that although "the lowest Vertebrates which breathe air are Amp-hibians," they make up for this position on the evolutionary scale with the vehemence of their vocalizing while courting. Not only do "frogs and toads possess vocal organs, which are incessantly used during the breeding-season," but again they have equipment "often more highly developed in the male than in the female." As for turtles, "the male alone of the tortoise utters a noise, and this only during the season of love." This need to be heard escalates on up to male alligators, "who roar or bellow during the same season." It is at this level that equality of the sexes also emerges in an unexpected place. Among crocodiles, "the sexes apparently do not differ in colour." Not only this, but from so seemingly unlikely a source as the stereotypically ferocious crocodile there emerges what seems today a tentatively hopeful evolutionary sign. "Nor do I know that the males fight together," Darwin observes of the crocodile, "though this is probable, for some kinds make a prodigious display before the females." From a letter from a correspondent traveling through Carolina, he reports this dramatic example from the world of these bumpy and slithering beasts. "Bartram describes the male alligator as striving to win the female by splashing and roaring in the midst of a lagoon, `swollen to an extent ready to burst, with its head and tail lifted up, he springs or twirls round on the surface of the water, like an Indian chief rehearsing his feats of war.'" 33
David Loye "During the season of love"--also from this giant green creature dancing on the water in the throes of passion--"a musky odour is emitted by the submaxiliary glands ... and pervades their haunts." And so on it goes from the alligator to the fish. "Female fishes, as far as I can learn," he tells us, "never willingly spawn except in the presence of the males, and the males never fertilise the ova except in the presence of the females." The major theme he is shortly to develop at great length now comes up. "The males fight for the possession of the females." But first he makes the point that all too soon after his death the establishment began to subtly shove from the literature. "In many species, the males whilst young resemble the females in colour; but when adult become much more brilliant, and retain their colours throughout life. In other species the males become brighter than the females and otherwise more highly ornamented, only during the season of love. The males sedulously court the females, and in one case, as we have seen, take pains in displaying their beauty before them. Can it be believed that they would thus act to no purpose during their courtship?" This would be the case, Darwin notes, "unless the females exert some choice and select those males which please or excite them most. If the female exerts such choice, all the above facts on the ornamentation of the males become at once intelligible by the aid of sexual selection." Here he brings into the discourse a distinction fundamental to his original full theory of evolution, to which we'll come back: the difference between the operation of "sexual selection," driven by love, and the operation of "natural selection," driven by all we've collapsed into the handy mantra "survival of the fittest." In other words, if we switch our minds from the fixation for the 20th century on the blood and guts track of natural selection to the 34
Dawin in Love long controversial but very appealing idea of sexual selection, it becomes the female that makes the world go round. 35
FOUR THE SEASON OF BATTLE "The season of love is that of battle," Darwin also tells us--and now of course the cheer goes up from old model Darwinians exclusively of the Origins persuasion. The difference being that in Origins he states the case for natural selection. But in Descent he states the case not only for sexual selection, but much else, as we shall see. "Now at last this begins to make sense," one hears the devotee of Origins mutter. "Now this imposter being passed off on us as Darwin begins to sound like our Darwin." Moreover, not just during the season of love, but round the year Darwin also has music for their ears. For he tells us, "The males of some birds, as of the game-fowl and ruff, and even the young males of the wild turkey and grouse are ready to fight whenever they meet. The presence of the female is the teterrima belli causa." This is the classic setting for natural selection at work, just as portrayed at length in Origin. What thereafter follows is fierce. It is bloody. It is a far cry from the cartoon world of Bambi and Jemima Puddleduck. "With mammals the male appears to win the female much more through the law of battle than through the display of his charms," he tells us. This seems to contradict his theory of female choice--but actually not, if you think about it. As exemplified by many a tiny woodland romance, as we're to see, for example, she can still appear to accept the winner of the battle while slipping off discretely to mate with the better dancer or singer. However, there is no gainsaying the other. 36
Dawin in Love "The most timid animals, not provided with any special weapons for fighting, engage in desperate conflicts during the season of love. Two male hares have been seen to fight together until one was killed. Male moles often fight, and sometimes with fatal results. Male squirrels engage in frequent contests and"--here he quotes a letter from Audubon of the famous bird paintings--"`often wound each other severely,'" as do male beavers, so that `hardly a skin is without scars.'" Particularly involved and bloody are battles during what Darwin switches from calling the season of love to "the breeding season." Yet here it is also important to note how the urge to battle and the milder urge only to display oneself in seeking love are curiously intermingled, or alternate in ascendency. "The Capercailzie and Black-cock, which are both polygamists, have regular appointed places, where during many weeks they congregate in numbers to fight together and to display their charms before the females. Dr. W. Kovalevsky informs me that in Russia he has seen the snow all bloody on the arenas where the capercailzie have fought, and the black-cocks `make the feathers fly in every direction,' when several `engage in a battle royal.'" It is "the elder Brehm" who provides the most involved account of a whirling dervish of the bird world in the throes of "the Balz, as the love-dances and love-songs of the Black-cock are called in Germany." "The bird utters almost continuously the strangest noises. `He holds his tail up and spreads it out like a fan, he lifts up his head and neck with all the feathers erect, and stretches his wings from the body. Then he takes a few jumps in different directions sometimes in a circle, and presses the under part of his beak so hard against the ground that the chin feathers are rubbed off. During these movements he beats his wings and turns round and round. The more ardent he grows the more lively he becomes, until at last the bird appears like a frantic creature.'" 37
David Loye "At such times," Darwin tells us, "the black-cocks are so absorbed that they become almost blind and deaf, but less so than the capercailzie: hence bird after bird may be shot on the same spot, or even caught by the hand. After performing these antics, the males begin to fight: and the same black-cock, in order to prove his strength over several antagonists, will visit in the course of one morning several Balz-places, which remain the same during successive years." There are many more of these accounts of bloody conflict. We follow the struggles and antics of everything from whales and elephants to wild bulls and rams. But it is interesting to realize over 100 years later how much our perspective has changed. For a species that has succeeded in building atomic bombs, and has stockpiled away God knows how many thousand tons of anthrax and every other vicious weapon for biological warfare, the following scene by now has haunting overtones. "The courage and the desperate conflicts of stags have often been described. Their skeletons have been found in various parts of the world, with the horns inextricably locked together, shewing how miserably the victor and vanquished had perished." 38
FIVE LOVE CALLS, SONGS, DANCES, AND ANTICS Darwin was probably not the first to call attention to the fact that to make sense of our surroundings--or to entice anyone else to share our goals--we must first grab the attention of both our own and/or someone else's wandering eye and mind. As one might guess, how this is done has been much probed by psychologists paid by advertising agencies to find out how to seize the jaded mind of the weary consumer. One might say the fact that increasing numbers of us are on guard, seeking refuge from, and increasingly resentful of the bombardment of commercials, is a small sign of hope for the future. The challenge of gaining attention, Darwin observes, is the same for love. With the targeted beloved quite possibly being bombarded from all sides by others seeking her (or his) affection, how do we grab her or his attention in order, we hope, to win out? The Song of Songs Of much that is bizarre and often very funny, a good place to begin is his vignette of how the bulky bird known as the grouse in North America goes about getting the intended's eye. He tells of how "the Tetrao phasianellus meet every morning during the breeding-season on a selected level spot, and here they run round and round in a circle of about fifteen or twenty feet in diameter, so that the ground is worn quite bare, like a fairy-ring." 39
David Loye In these "Partridge-dances," as the hunters call them, "the birds assume the strangest attitudes, and run round, some to the left and some to the right." He calls upon Audubon again for a description of "`the males of a heron (Ardea herodias) as walking about on their long legs with great dignity before the females, bidding defiance to their rivals.'" In contrast to the regal and stately picture this conjures up, however, are what Audubon observes of the low life doings of "the disgusting carrion-vultures." Of the "gesticulations and parade of the males at the beginning of the love-season," Audubon's loathing finds himself apparently at a loss for words, as he can only say "they are extremely ludicrous." "Certain birds perform their love-antics on the wing, as we have seen with the black African weaver, instead of on the ground. During the spring our little white-throat (Sylvia cinerea) often rises a few feet or yards in the air above some bush, and `flutters with a fitful and fantastic motion, singing all the while, and then drops to its perch.'" We move on from the antics of love to the calls and songs of love with a seemingly quite unlikely candidate--the woodpecker, who seems about as far removed from our picture of a songster as one could get. But love finds its ways. Woodpeckers, Darwin tells us, "strike a sonorous branch with their beaks, with so rapid a vibratory movement that `the head appears to be in two places at once.' The sound thus produced is audible at a considerable distance but cannot be described. I feel sure that its source would never be conjectured by any one hearing it for the first time." He notes that as this "jarring sound" is made chiefly during the "breeding-season, it has been considered a love-song; but it is perhaps more strictly a love-call. The female, when driven from her nest, has been observed thus to call her mate, who answered in the same manner and soon appeared." 40
Dawin in Love Within a context that until late in the 20th century was usually portrayed solely from the male viewpoint by male scientists, Darwin tells of how the male pursues the female as target. But, as we've seen, most interesting is his observation of the matter as the cooperative involvement of both sexes--to be mainly ignored for over 100 years. This comes to the fore in his sensitive and even winsome portrait of the love antics of the Australian bower bird. "The most curious case," he calls it, speculating that the bower birds are "no doubt the co-descendants of some ancient species which first acquired the strange instinct of constructing bowers for performing their love-antics." "The bowers, which are decorated with feathers, shells, bones, and leaves, are built on the ground for the sole purpose of courtship." Aside from what would seem obvious to the so-called lay observer on watching what he describes, the careful scientist may be sure that the bower is used only for courting because "their nests are formed in trees." "Both sexes assist in the erection of the bowers," Darwin specifically notes, although "the male is the principal workman." I found Darwin's description in the text summoning up a picture in mind of a Victorian gazebo replete with flowers and other frills. Peeking out cautiously from time to time, the coy pair, one imagines, are attempting to get together behind the roses without mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, gardeners, or worst of all small brothers or sisters intruding. The picture in my CD-ROM copy of Descent shows us, however, something that looks more like an Indian wigwam. On blowing it up with the zoom feature, what emerges is a fetching portrait of the diligent bower bird looking out of the picture directly at us a bit apprehensively. Beside him or her is a tiny hut intricately assembled out of sticks. He or she is standing on quite a pile of clam shells, the purpose of which is not explained. 41
David Loye "So strong is this instinct," Darwin tells us of the birds' bowering, "that it is practised under confinement." From another letter he provides the description of an ornithologist with the intriguing name of "Mr.Strange." Even in the confinement of the aviary of Mr.Strange in New South Wales, the Satin Bower-birds, he reports, persisted in their ritual in a way that calls to mind how the valentine serves with us to summon up enticing memories in the mind of the beloved. "`At times the male will chase the female all over the aviary,'" Mr.Strange tells Darwin and us. Then as the climactic moment nears, he will "go to the bower, pick up a gay feather or a large leaf, utter a curious kind of note, set all his feathers erect, run round the bower and become so excited that his eyes appear ready to start from his head. He continues opening first one wing then the other, uttering a low, whistling note, and, like the domestic cock, seems to be picking up something from the ground, until at last the female goes gently towards him." Upsetting the Macho Apple Cart At last we are to get to what the scholars and editors of Darwin's time--generally unchallenged throughout the whole of the 20th century--apparently thought was the only thing he had to say about love that justified a single entry for uncomfortably unscientific word in the index for Descent. That's right. Though he wrote 95 times about love in Descent, for a whole century, in all the editions of this book in which he tells us he's now going to write about human evolution, in all the world's languages, there was but a single entry in the index. And sure enough, it involves something so trivial as to guarantee that no-one could possibly ever think that Darwin devoted much time to the topic, or that love was even the least bit of any scientific importance. 42
Dawin in Love It comes up during the intricacies of Darwin's careful probe of how the love song or dance could have evolved from originally being the single note or two of a love call, or a shuffling foot, or some other tiny unintelligible behavior. He has found a clue in the grasshopper or Locustidae. Not only may we see here "the musical apparatus is more differentiated or specialized." Grasshoppers, he believes, are also "the most powerful performers in the Order." He is intrigued by the discovery by Landois in one species of grasshopper of "a short and narrow row of small teeth, mere rudiments, on the inferior surface of the right wing-cover." He himself (Darwin, that is) has "observed the same rudimentary structure on the under side of the right lobes of the opposite wing-covers." How the little teeth got there "we do not know." But it is probable "the basal portions of the wing-covers originally overlapped each other, as they do at present. And the friction of the nervures produced a grating sound, as is now the case with the wing-covers of the females." "A grating sound thus occasionally and accidentally made by the males, if it served them ever so little as a love-call to the females," concludes Darwin, "might readily have been intensified through sexual selection." And so there it is, the earthshaking bit of wisdom that a grasshopper sings by rubbing its wings--single entry for the word love in the official index used for over 100 by scholars and general readers of Descent. Again--and indeed, again and again--we're to see why this upsetting of the macho apple cart was so often ignored by male scientists, scholars, and readers. In his search for the how and why of the artistry of evolution, Darwin moves on from grasshoppers to birds. "The diversity of the sounds, both vocal and instrumental" made by the males during the breeding season, as well as "the diversity of 43
David Loye means for producing such sounds, are highly remarkable." This, he feels, indicates "their importance for sexual purposes." "It is not difficult to imagine the steps by which the notes of a bird, primarily used as a mere call or for some other purpose, might have been improved into a melodious love song. In the case of the modified feathers, by which the drumming, whistling, or roaring noises are produced, we know that some birds during their courtship flutter, shake, or rattle their unmodified feathers together. If the females were led to select the best performers, the males which possessed the strongest or thickest, or most attenuated feathers, situated on any part of the body, would be the most successful. And thus by slow degrees the feathers might be modified to almost any extent." There it is again--evolution shaped by selection by the female rather than conquest by the male. But what has happened here? Where have all the bloody battles and lonesome skeletons with interlocked horns gone to? Is this the world of Bambi and Jemima Puddleduck after all? Alas for old model survival-of-the-fittest, the most unsettling of vignettes for the unreconstructed devotee of Origin awaits us. "Even with the most pugnacious species it is probable that the pairing does not depend exclusively on the mere strength and courage of the male," Darwin tells us, "for such males are generally decorated with various ornaments, which often become more brilliant during the breeding-season," at which time they "are sedulously displayed before the females." Can this effete and prancing dancer have replaced Arnold Swartzenegger or that grim charmer on horseback of yesteryear, the Marlboro Man? What has happened to the real male of Origin? "The males also endeavour to charm or excite their mates by love-notes, songs, and antics," he tells us. And instead of getting right to it, no sentimental nonsense, and then riding into the sunset, "the courtship is, in many instances, a prolonged affair." 44
Dawin in Love All this leads Darwin to conclude that the females are not "invariably compelled to yield to the victorious males. It is more probable that the females are excited, either before or after the conflict, by certain males, and thus unconsciously prefer them." Darwin's use of the concept of the unconscious mind here--predating Freud by some decades--is surprising. But the culmination for his puncturing of macho science is yet to come. An informant that Darwin identifies only as "a good observer" has passed on his belief "that the battles of the male `are all a sham, performed to show themselves to the greatest advantage before the admiring females who assemble around.'" His correspondent then adds insult to injury, "`for I have never been able to find a maimed hero, and seldom more than a broken feather.'" As if this blow to the pride of the traditional male weren't enough, Darwin winds up this exploration with two more observations that again stress the power of female choice in being the determining factor in courtship shaping evolution. He remarks that "with the Tetrao cupido of the United States, about a score of males assemble at a particular spot, and, strutting about, make the whole air resound with their extraordinary noises. At the first answer from a female the males begin to fight furiously, and the weaker give way; but then, according to Audubon, "both the victors and vanquished search for the female, so that the females must either then exert a choice, or the battle must be renewed." Similarly, with one of the field-starlings of the United States, Sturnella ludoviciana by name, "the males engage in fierce conflicts, `but at the sight of a female they all fly after her as if mad.'" 45
SIX HOLMES INVESTIGATES On looking at my notes, I found that some of Darwin's vignettes reminded me so much of Sherlock Holmes stories in miniature that I thought it might be fitting to present some of them here as A.Conan Doyle might have in a lesser moment. The quotes are directly from Descent, as Darwin originally wrote it. The Case of the Pheasant's Good Taste With a puff on the pipe, his gaze ascendent, the words clipped with the power of discernment and logic, Sherlock observes, "The Argus pheasant does not possess brilliant colours, so that his success in love appears to depend on the great size of his plumes, and on the elaboration of the most elegant patterns." As we've seen, this seems sensible--particularly to the male ego. But Holmes now pounces with the customary twist to befuddle Watson. This, he says, is not necessarily the case. "Many will declare that it is utterly incredible that a female bird should be able to appreciate fine shading and exquisite patterns"--to which Watson nods. "It is undoubtedly a marvelous fact that she should possess this almost human degree of taste," Holmes says, looking again to his companion for agreement. Watson nods. Whoever, then, says Holmes, "thinks that he can safely gauge the discrimination and taste of the lower animals may deny that the female Argus pheasant can appreciate such refined beauty." This time a knowing chortle as well as a nod from Watson. 46
But consider that in denying the female of the species this capacity, notes Holmes, the hypothetical male--whose bias against the female he has been voicing--will "be compelled to admit that the extraordinary attitudes assumed by the male during the act of courtship, by which the wonderful beauty of his plumage is fully displayed, are purposeless." Watson looks at him, puzzled--then frowns on realizing that, along with all the other males and scientists who discount the importance of the female, Holmes has set him up for a gentle dig. "This is a conclusion which I for one will never admit," the great detective says with a flourish of the pipe in hand. Behind the scene we may surmise Darwin's chuckle over how he has managed to get in another nuance for his theory of the power of female choice in the operation of sexual selection in evolution, but where this leaves Watson is anybody's guess.. The Case of the Jaded Lover The fog swirls past the window of the old study on Baker Street. A blazing log pops in the fireplace. As the jingle of a carriage passes by outside, Holmes, musing, lays down the pen to raise the question as to why, during the height of the breeding season, "there should be so many males and females always ready to repair the loss of a mated bird." Watson sets aside the newspaper to pick up the notebook in which he records Holmes' exploits. In other words--to paraphrase this question evolution's great detective has just raised--the standard picture for the breeding season is of every last male bird driven in this brief seasonal frenzy to mate with every last female bird equally frenzied to mate. Yet if this is so, from where do all the bench-warming substitutes come if any of the main players are knocked from the game? "Why do not such spare birds immediately pair together?" Holmes asks, to which Watson again nods, trying to look properly wise. 47
David Loye "Have we not some reason to suspect, and the suspicion has occurred to Mr. Jenner Weir--" This is the bird watching friend whom Darwin cites 25 times in Descent, for it is the theory of none other than Mr. Jenner Weir, the great detective tells us, "that as the courtship of birds appears to be in many cases prolonged and tedious, so it occasionally happens that certain males and females do not succeed, during the proper season, in exciting each other's love, and consequently do not pair." But why is this? Why--we join Watson in wondering--do not all the males and females on hand immediately mate with one another? For they would be driven to do so by the biological determinism of the selfproclaimed saviors of late 20th century evolution theory. Why instead should there be on hand this pool of potential mates who seem to have been holding back waiting for something better to show up? There will no doubt be skeptics, but for them Darwin as Sherlock has an answer that Watson will likely agree it would be difficult to argue with. "This suspicion," says Holmes, "will appear somewhat less improbable after we have seen what strong antipathies and preferences female birds occasionally evince towards particular males." Thinking of all the examining room confessions which, as a physician, he has listened to from the females of our species, Watson again nods to the snap of his friend's devastating logic. Could there even be psychological considerations transcending the rampant biological determinism that seized the 20th century? Repeating an earlier observation to punch the point home, Sherlock adds to a knowing chuckle now as well as a nod from Watson, "Or she may accept, as appearances would sometimes lead us to believe, not the male which is the most attractive to her, but the one which is the least distasteful." To which Watson responds with an appreciative snort and roll of the eyes. 48
Dawin in Love The Case of the Blase Elders It is another typically cold and fogbound night. Holmes looks up from stuffing his pipe to note that, among the letters on the desk is one that, by the American stamp, stands out from the rest. Can it be? Yes, it is, he finds on opening it. It is, as he suspected, from Audubon, whom, as we've seen, was one of Darwin's favorite sources--he cites him 74 times in Descent. Audubon, Holmes reports to Watson on opening the letter, has been carefully observing wild flocks of Canadian geese--"Anser canadensis," he notes. Of their "love antics," Audubon reports of geese that had been previously mated that they "renewed their courtship as early as the month of January." Watson shrugs. This hardly seems worth recording, but he readies the notebook anyway. Holmes, however, is increasingly fascinated. His fingers flutter theatrically. His voice deepens authoritatively. Audubon, from his hiding place within the cattails and the tall marsh grass, Holmes tells us, went on surreptitiously watching the geese while they were "contending or coquetting for hours every day, until all seemed satisfied with the choice they had made." Was it possible they could, at least in some cases, cherish one particular significant other above all others, as we tend to think only occurs at the human level? To confirm the possibility, Holmes reports of Audubon's observation that "although they remained together, any person could easily perceive that they were careful to keep in pairs." Against the bias of science in his time as well as much of ours, it does seem simple but firm evidence of the universal action of love. "I have observed also," Audubon writes, "that the older the birds the shorter were the preliminaries of their courtship." Not only this, but also this observation. "The bachelors and old maids whether in regret, or not caring to be disturbed by the bustle, quietly moved aside and lay down at some distance from the rest." 49
David Loye I find rising in my mind the image of Darwin himself among his own flock on vacation, or during his rambunctious children's courting years, with the chatter and the shrill laughter of a stream of their young friends and possible intendeds to Down House, all beating on the weary brain of Darwin in his study like the rattling of a Gattling gun. "Many similar statements with respect to other birds could be cited from this same observer," Darwin as Holmes remarks. It does not take a Sherlock Holmes to discern behind this observation the thought of himself and Emma lying down during such visits "at some distance from the rest." The Case of the Pushy Bullfinch The clop of a horse and then the stop outside. The murmur of Mrs. Hudson. Steps on the stairs. A knock on the door, and out of the night comes the ever-helpful Mr. Jenner Weir with another tale to tell of the tangled love life of male and female in the bird world. I wish I could find out more about Jenner Weir without extensive research. Throughout Descent he is continually reappearing whenever Darwin turns to birds for an example. Parrots, pigeons, starlings--you can hardly name a bird that Weir doesn't seem to either have in his own private aviary, which must have been the size of a small stadium, or that he has observed elsewhere. What is also fetching about Jenner Weir's entrances and his exits is that with birds, as with everything else, one can pass on the flat account that most of us do, which rapidly passes out of mind for lack of something to cling to. But Weir seems to have had that rare sense for the vignette and the story that both Darwin and Watson so delighted in. After warming himself by the fire and a mug of mulled ale, Weir departs. Soon afterward, red of face, shaking the snow from his shoes, and making sounds of relief to be inside, Watson arrives. Holmes moves immediately to the case on hand. 50
Dawin in Love "The following instance of rivalry is more surprising as it relates to bullfinches, which usually pair for life," Holmes remarks of the tale he has to tell. Again Watson opens the notebook to receive it. Mr. Jenner Weir, says Holmes, had introduced "a dull-coloured and ugly female into his aviary." She immediately attacked another mated female "so unmercifully that the latter had to be separated. The new female did all the courtship, and was at last successful, for she paired with the male." Justice, however--as almost invariably prevailed in Watson's stories of Holmes to the rescue--also lurks around the corner in the bird world. For not only does the pushy bullfinch get her comeuppance, but true love triumphs in the end. "After a time she met with a just retribution," Holmes reports of the pushy one's fate, "for, ceasing to be pugnacious, she was replaced by the old female, and the male then deserted his new and returned to his old love." The Case of the Joyful Chimpanzees Another old friend who pops up in Descent even more frequently than Mr.Jenner Weir is Mr.Bartlett--no less than 32 times, for Bartlett was the curator of London's Zoological Garden at Regent's Park. Before marrying and moving to the comparative isolation of the village of Downe, Darwin spent many an hour in Regent's Park just leaning on the railings, or lolling on a bench, looking at and enjoying the zoo life. Bartlett became a particularly rich and cherished source of tales about a wide range of animals besides the birds. On Baker Street it is again a night conducive to reminiscences of old cases long pursued before one solved them. "With the lower animals we see the same principle of pleasure derived from contact in association with love," Homes tells Watson by way of an introduction. "Dogs and cats manifestly take pleasure in rubbing against their masters and mistresses, and in being rubbed or patted by them. Many kinds of monkeys, as I am assured by the 51
David Loye keepers in the Zoological Gardens, delight in fondling and being fondled by each other, and by persons to whom they are attached." It is the tale once told by Mr.Bartlett of the behavior of two chimpanzees, however, that most intrigues Holmes and provides us with a climax worthy of Watson at his best. They were "rather older animals than those generally imported into this country, when they were first brought together," Holmes reminiscences. "They sat opposite, touching each other with their much protruded lips; and then one put his hand on the shoulder of the other. They then mutually folded each other in their arms." But the climax came later and unexpectedly. For suddenly "they stood up, each with one arm on the shoulder of the other, lifted up their heads, opened their mouths, and yelled with delight." 52
SEVEN LOVE AMONG THE BARNACLES "An illformed little monster," he called it. One of the hundreds of specimens of plants and animals Darwin brought back from the voyage of the Beagle, he found it along the shore in southern Chile. Of all he had ever seen, it was the smallest of the small creatures of a wide variety of forms that encrust ships, docks, reefs, and rocky shores called barnacles. In 1836--with love for Emma and marriage three years ahead in time--he began dissecting this unexpectedly illshapen specimen, which he named Arthrobalanus. As with the beetles and the horse in his early years, Arthrobalanus was a new case of love at first sight. Or rather second sight. For once Darwin had cleaned him up and put him under the microscope the little monster was wholly transformed. To his exshipmate Captain Fitzroy Darwin wrote that he was "dissecting a little animal about the size of a pin's head. I could spend another month on it, & daily see some more beautiful structure!" Soon the strain of trying to see and dissect at this micro-level dampened his ardor somewhat. But a new more powerful lens and the device of putting wood blocks under his wrists to keep his hands steady restored the passion that was to absorb his research and writing like a sponge. Ten years later, however--at the end of an affair that he had thought would only take a few months--he could only groan to a friend, "You cannot think how delighted I feel at having finished." 53
David Loye However, at the beginning--as for so many of us over and over again, at least in our teens--it was love beyond containment because of all the delights one sensed that lay ahead if one merely persisted. That he intuited where this could lead is indicated by the fact that almost immediately, along with his "first date" with the barnacle, he went to work on the essay that led eventually to Origin of Species. Thereafter, his long dalliance with the barnacles--for with the obsession so characteristic of certain love affairs he went on to try to obtain, dissect, and catalogue all the species of barnacles that collectors from all over the world could send him--so delayed the writing and publication of Origin that he almost lost credit for the theory of natural selection to Alfred Wallace. Why had he risked so much for seemingly so little? Many guesses have been advanced, but the main reason, I'm convinced, is not that this was an odd and inexplicable case, such as that of the rich man's handsome son or beautiful daughter who takes up with and cannot be shook free of his or her passion for an ugly pauper. It was that Darwin saw that the scientists of his time would not support the theory of evolution he was building unless it came from someone they viewed as serious and substantial. When the barnacle affair began, he was, after all, only newly arrived from the voyage of the Beagle. To the older established scientists he was a young man showing promise, yes indeed. But still, let us face it, to them he was only a dabbler and speculator in many fields rather than master of any single area. Worst of all for his purposes, though they enjoyed the book of his voyage and wellwritten little papers, should he attempt to put before them anything of the size and importance of what he was beginning to intuit not only would he be put down as a mere "popularizer" and excluded thereafter, his name would be mud more generally. For what beckoned was a theory that could threaten not merely a tiny part but the whole structure for the science and society of his time and bring down the churches on him like a pack of hungry wolves. 54
Dawin in Love Behind that charmingly modest exterior, lifelong Darwin exhibited a wonderfully accurate capacity both for survival and the quiet and underplayed but ingenious promotion of himself and his theory. What the barnacle affair represented to him was the chance to research and write the careful, sober, and properly dull book on a single species that would establish him as a member of the club to be taken seriously. And so he labored away for ten years at something that for anyone not so ferociously motivated by his goal would have been a seemingly endless season in hell. The Weird World of the Barnacle As a boy roaming the world of nature, I had seen barnacles encrusting rocks and docks along the sea shore and hadn't thought much about it. I had, as most of us, I would guess, classified them in mind as looking somewhat like a tiny volcano made of the same substance as a clam shell. They seemed attached to whatever they clung to with super-glue. As the world was filled with so many more things worth spending time with, that was that. To enter Darwin's world of the barnacle for this book, however, was like waking up one morning and opening the front door expecting to find the newspaper, but instead finding oneself as if asleep again confronting the nightmare world of a wholly different place in space and time. A biologist, I'm sure, would have quickly felt at home. At first all I could see were just so many squiggly and contorted pictures of an undistinguished mess in Darwin's monograph on barnacles. But on blowing them up with the zoom feature of the CD-ROM, I found myself confronted with the unsettling rearrangements of what we think life should look like into forms as weird and deranged as any in a science fiction movie. The creature from outer space or the mysterious lagoon on Mars is suddenly among us. Some so tiny they can require a microscope to see, the reasonable part of our mind knows and tells us they are harmless. No doubt they 55
David Loye would recoil in horror if they could see us and were able to register our size and--with forceps advancing toward them--surmise our scientific intent. But all variations from our expectations make us uneasy, so the barnacle as viewed up close and personal in Darwin's original monograph can be a bit of jolt to the eternal scaredy cat part of our emotional unconscious. What I had always thought was the tiny volcano turns out to be a set of plates that close in tightly to look like some harmless shell at low tide. But when the water rises, four of these plates open ominously and out dart little tentacles to flap about in search of food. For within each of the hard parts that the barnacle extrudes from itself and cements to its host ship or rock or wharf post there is a gooey living thing with a voracious appetite. Waiting back within the shell of plates is this creature of generally many tiny legs related to the shrimp--a shrimplike thing, however, that in this case, in effect, lives out its life standing on its head. Though Darwin speaks of more kinds, today classification seems to have mainly narrowed down to two kinds. The little volcano type is called an Acorn barnacle. The other type--even more on the science fiction side up close--is called the Gooseneck. This is because out from what we would think was the bottom of a clamlike shell--but in fact is the area of the head of the creature inside--there extends a long thick wormlike thing called the peduncle that attaches itself again with organic super glue to its host. To complete the picture of an experiment in scrambling everything around in unexpected places and ways, the barnacle breathes through gills in its legs, and--for its size--has the longest penis on record, extending to five times its own body length among some species. The Love Life of the Barnacle Could Darwin really have been so unscientific as to find and openly declare the discovery of "love" among the barnacles? 56
Dawin in Love With the exception of the word Love--which, curiously, turns out to be the name of an authority on barnacles with whom Darwin disagrees--the word is not to be found in his classic Monograph on the Cirrepedes--which, for convenience here, we'll callt Barnacles. As this was to be his entry card to the Important Scientists Club, supersensitive to the requirements of the paradigm, Darwin was careful not to use a single word that might raise even an eyebrow. He was still running scared on the matter as late as Origin, in which the word love appears only twice. But by the time he came to write Descent--for a reason to which I will return--he simply let go and let both his heart and his mind utter the forbidden L-word 95 times! In Barnacles one is swiftly overwhelmed by the scientific weight of minute observations of the scapelum, scutum, tergum, rostrum, carina, cirri, capitulum, and peduncle--"which is either naked or squamiferous," Darwin tells us. The jaded reader may perk up somewhat on the question of whether all barnacles are hermaphrodites, with organs of both sexes, as once believed. Or are not hermaphrodites (Darwin says many are not). Or whether what were once thought to be salivary glands are actually ovaries (as Darwin insists). But still it is really too much for us today until gradually it becomes evident that what he is actually writing is a Kama Sutra of the micro-world. Freud was later to shock the world of his time with what was at first damned as a miserably sex-obsessed psychology. Wilhelm Reich was later even imprisoned in the U.S. for what in part was seen as carrying the whole thing about sex to an extreme. But here was Darwin, of all people, way back then getting away with it. It comes up during his prolonged examination of what seemed to him to be both the most fundamental problem for the barnacle and for us in understanding him/her and him or her. If one was an acorn barnacle cemented to something and unable to move, how was one to find a mate? One might think that in the case of a hermaprodite, with both sex organs, one might just impregnate oneself, but this didn't work. If one was to live up to the 57
David Loye requirements of evolution and dutifully propagate the species, one had to somehow get out there and find a mate elsewhere cemented to something and unable to move. We may assume there was a possibility for a tiny love call--for at this micro-level Darwin, with eyes straining and wrists on wood blocks, was able to identify a tiny mouth and apparatus for hearing as well as seeing and smelling. But who would hear the plaintive cry of the lovesick barnacle in all the crashing about of the waves, the squeaking of the shrimp, and the underwater fog horn of the whale? There he was, the lonely male acorn barnacle. And there she was, the lonely female acorn barnacle. And day after day and night after night, perhaps those tiny voices were mournfully calling to each other. But though only less than an inch might separate them, as both were cemented to the rock or post or ship and unable to move, how on earth were they to get together? Not quite so difficult, but still posing problems, was the situation of the Gooseneck barnacle. With its clamlike "head" swaying in the water on the long "neck" of its wormlike peduncle, it had some chance of bumping into a mate if there were more Goosenecks nearby--as there generally were. But still, with everything dependent on whether the movement of the tide in or out was favorable, or whether the crashing about of the waves was otherwise attuned to one's desires, the situation would obviously have been far worse than those teen years for our species consumed with the anxious hopping in and out of cars or onto and off sofas of an afternoon, with one's parents likely to pop in at any time. For the Gooseneck barnacle, mating as one flopped about in a comparable situation in the ever wantonly restless sea would have been fraught with seemingly practically endless anxiety and frustration, could there have been such at that level. What was to be done? In this frightful situation, what could venture out to save the species? Some sources even today discretely refer to a "tube" that the barnacle extends, but Darwin matter-of-factly called it the penis. 58
Dawin in Love "In the ordinary Cirripedes the penis is long, articulated, and capable of varied movements," he tell us. In a nonordinary, or more elite barnacle we may assume, he finds the penis is "very singular in structure." It is "of the ordinary length, but of a small diameter." It "tapers but little" and has a fixed portion that is "smooth" and "much flattened." Still another is "covered with minute bristles, in little tufts arranged in straight lines." Another is "plainly articulate" with "fine transversely-striated muscles" that can be "protruded through the minute orifice, and voluntarily moved about." And now comes the solution to the mystery of the mating of both the lonely Acorn barnacles cemented there on that rock side by side, or the anxious and frustrated Goosenecks flopping about at the whim of the waves. "Out of a male, 12/1000ths of an inch in length, I dissected a penis, which, when not stretched, measured 50/1000ths of an inch in length." But when "a portion was pulled between two needles, it could be stretched to apparently three times its former length." He estimates that in this sexual athlete of the barnacle world "the organ could be extended by the animal to, perhaps, even the 100/1000ths of an inch," which would be "eight and nine times its own entire length!" Along with having done its duty by evolution, this feat has a certain appeal not unlike that of watching the tightrope walker or the fire eater who defies the odds against him or her in a circus performance. The ingenuity of evolution with the barnacle's sex life, however, did not stop there. Darwin's favorite hero and heroine of this amorous underworld are the male and female of Ibla Cumingii and their intricate and ingenious household arrangement. Ibla Cumingii In the process of cleaning up his tiny specimens before dissection and examination, Darwin had been routinely picking and washing off 59
David Loye still tinier parasites that infested many of them. Looking more closely at the parasites one day, however, he made a startling discovery. Some were true parasites, but others turned out to be tiny male barnacles. "The female has the ordinary appearance," in excitement he wrote the friend who was his closest confidant, the clergyman and botanist John Henslow, "whereas the male has no one part of its body like the female & is microscopically minute; but here comes the odd fact, the male or sometimes two males, at the instant they cease being locomotive larvae become parasitic within the sack of the female, & thus fixed & half embedded in the flesh of their wives they pass their whole lives & can never move again." Later, in another letter, he reveled in his discovery of what might be seen today as a reversal by nature of the prevailing picture of the randy male potentate with an obliging harem always at hand. For the Ibla female, Darwin discovered, had a pocket in each valve of her shell in which "she kept a little husband," up to as many as ten in number. It was, one had to admit, the solutions of solutions to the barnacle's problem of finding a mate for pleasure and perpetuating the species. No more stretching oneself out of shape like the ordinary acorn barnacle. No more flapping around dependent on the waves like the gooseneck. It was an easy, inbuilt case of sex on demand. With typical modesty, Darwin named this very special Ibla after Hugh Cuming, a naturalist who had urged him to go into barnacles in a big way and generously offered his own huge collection to Darwin's knife and eye. On looking closely, Darwin further found the little husband to be "a flattened, purplish, wormlike body" that at least had to feed itself. It had to "seize its prey, guided probably by its well-developed olfactory organs" and an eye whenever "the female opens her values, allowing occasionally some minute prey to enter." In such a tiny and rather pathetic state of dependency, it might seem "surprising that so small a male should secrete sufficient semen to impregnate the ova of the female," Darwin remarks. Evolution, however, had found a way to 60
Dawin in Love diminish the challenge by balancing things out a bit, for "the ova are not nearly so numerous in Ibla as in most genera of Cirripedes." And as for how such a tiny creature as the male Ibla could effectively mate with his immense host and wife, "no doubt the whole body, furnished like the penis with longitudinal and transverse muscles, serves the same purpose!" Darwin exclaims. The male of another species, Cryptophialus, however, was even more remarkable in its function as an almost wholly single purpose organism. For the male contained "no mouth, no stomach, no thorax, no abdomen, and no appendages or limbs of any kind." There was only an eye at the lower end and at the upper end an orifice within which "there lies coiled up, like a giant worm," a "wonderfully developed ... probosciformed penis," which shot out to function as a whole body become sex organ. 61
EIGHT LOVE WITH THE PERFECT STRANGER Although constrained by marriage vows, and pounced on with glee or ferocity when discovered, there is what we may discretely call a tendency among males and females toward a bit of straying. It is proscribed or frowned on most places, but where among us is there a man or woman more animated than a stone who has not "lusted after another" in mind or heart? Or who does not conceal at least one warm memory of a hidden tryst long ago, or more recently? Or who does not also classify at least some of these episodes or interludes as love? Among the classics on our bookshelves, gilt edged and leather bound, are The Tales of Boccacio, Balzac's Droll Stories, or more somberly Anna Karinina or Madame Bovary. Though David and Bathsheba properly suffer for it in the end, even the Bible would lose much of the color that has held a readership over the centuries if someone had long ago decided there really was no theological justification for including the Song of Songs. Today we more often flock to movies ranging from the black and white days of that stiff upper lip, British tear jerker "Brief Encounter" or the merry dalliance of the multiple-academy-award-winner "Shakespeare in Love." Slipping Around in the Bird World As one might suspect, this dalliance did not go unnoticed in the animal world. With Darwin joined by our old friend Mr.Jenner Weir 62
Dawin in Love and a new observer, one Macgillivray, we are taken on quite a tour behind scenes in forest, field, and jungle. "Having made these preliminary remarks on the discrimination and taste of birds," Darwin tells us, "I will give all the facts known to me which bear on the preference shewn by the female for particular males." Thereafter, this particular horde of lore fairly bubbles over out of him. "It is certain that distinct species of birds occasionally pair in a state of nature and produce hybrids." Many instances could be given, he tells us, "thus Macgillivray relates how a male blackbird and female thrush `fell in love with each other,' and produced offspring." "Several years ago eighteen cases had been recorded of the occurrence in Great Britain of hybrids between the black grouse and pheasant; but most of these cases may perhaps be accounted for by solitary birds not finding one of their own species to pair with. With other birds, as Mr. Jenner Weir has reason to believe, hybrids are sometimes the result of the casual intercourse of birds building in close proximity." But we must be precise about this. He assures us "these remarks do not apply to the many recorded instances of tamed or domestic birds, belonging to distinct species, which have become absolutely fascinated with each other, although living with their own species." What happens then is a bit disconcerting. What happened to all these birds "absolutely fascinated" with one another? For it seems that rather than provide us with the details Darwin has decided to spray the page with the references for us to search for ourselves. "Thus Waterton1919," he writes, as well as "Waterton, 'Essays on Nat. His.' 2nd series, pp. 42 and 117. See on the wigeon, Loudon's 'Mag. of Nat. Hist.' vol. ix. p. 616; L. Lloyd, 'Scandinavian Adventures,' vol. i. 1854, p. 452. Dixon, 'Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,' p. 137; Hewitt, in 'Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. 13, 1863, p. 40; Bechstein, 'Stubenvцgel,' 1840, s. 230." 63
David Loye After all this it is a relief to find Mr. Jenner Weir--who presumably did not drag strings of formal references along behind him--back in the picture soon thereafter. His story is of "an analogous case with ducks of two species." He states "that out of a flock of twenty-three Canada geese, a female paired with a solitary Bernicle gander, although so different in appearance and size; and they produced hybrid offspring." Mr.Jenner Weir also knows of "a male wigeon (Mareca penelope), living with females of the same species," who has been known "to pair with a pintail duck, Querquedula acuta." Not to be outdone, Darwin tells us that "Lloyd describes the remarkable attachment between a shield-drake (Tadorna vulpanser) and a common duck. Many additional instances could be given; and the Rev. E. S. Dixon remarks that `those who have kept many different species of geese together well know what unaccountable attachments they are frequently forming, and that they are quite as likely to pair and rear young with individuals of a race (species) apparently the most alien to themselves as with their own stock.'" One begins to feel Darwin is taking this out of a large satchel of notes, somewhat chagrined to find himself forced to use only a tiny portion of what he has collected from his gossiping mates of the birdwatchers' world. "I will give only one other case. Mr.Hewitt states that a wild duck, reared in captivity `after breeding a couple of seasons with her own mallard, at once shook him off on my placing a male Pintail on the water. It was evidently a case of love at first sight, for she swam about the new-comer caressingly, though he appeared evidently alarmed and averse to her overtures of affection. From that hour she forgot her old partner. Winter passed by, and the next spring the Pintail seemed to have become a convert to her blandishments, for they nested and produced seven or eight young ones.'" What might account for this tendency not only to find love with the perfect stranger, but also to shuck the old mate for him or her? But what might also account for fidelity? Darwin is ready with a 64
Dawin in Love further array of mullings about the bird world from his daily stroll up and back along the famous Sandwalk out from his home into the surrounding woods and fields. "We know that dovecot pigeons do not willingly associate with the variously coloured fancy breeds." Nor do "albino birds commonly get partners in marriage; and the black ravens of the Feroe Islands chase away their piebald brethren. But this dislike of a sudden change would not preclude their appreciating slight changes, any more than it does in the case of man." He concludes that "with respect to taste, which depends on many elements, but partly on habit and partly on a love of novelty, there seems no improbability in animals admiring for a very long period the same general style of ornamentation or other attractions, and yet appreciating slight changes in colours, form, or sound." 65
NINE A MOTHER'S LOVE We now come to one of the only two times in his earlier classic, Origin of Species, that Darwin mentions what for so much of 20th century science was the dreaded L-word. He is telling a hair-raising tale of the underside to the seemingly bucolic life of the bee. He has told us of how once their sexual function of impregnating the queen is finished, the male drones, who until then have been lolling about in blithe innocence, are "ultimately slaughtered by their industrious and sterile sisters." Then he turns to the Queen Bee. "It may be difficult, but we ought to admire the savage instinctive hatred of the queen-bee, which urges her to destroy the young queens, her daughters, as soon as they are born, or to perish herself in the combat; for undoubtedly this is for the good of the community; and maternal love or maternal hatred, though the latter fortunately is most rare, is all the same to the inexorable principles of natural selection." Though the passage fits his intellectual purpose--for it certainly vividly illustrates the working of natural selection--one wonders whether something else may be going on here. For isn't it as though at another, deeper level, routine in our culture in the toughening of the sensitive male, he is speaking to himself? It could be interesting to see what he has to say about a mother's love in Descent. "As Whewell has well asked," we read, "'who that reads the touching instances of maternal affection, related so often of the women of all nations, and of the females of all animals, can doubt that the principle of action is the same in the two cases?'" 66
Dawin in Love Darwin then observes that "we see maternal affection exhibited in the most trifling details; thus Rengger observed an American monkey (a Cebus) carefully driving away the flies which plagued her infant; and Duvaucel saw a Hylobates washing the faces of her young ones in a stream." Moving on, we find him observing that parental affection, "or some feeling which replaces it, has been developed in certain animals extremely low in the scale, for example, in star-fishes and spiders. It is also occasionally present in a few members alone in a whole group of animals, as in the genus Forficula, or earwigs." Mother's love in an earwig? Thinking of those ugly little chompers of the roses we may cherish, this really does strain one's belief. A mother's love then comes up in a passage that again shows how woefully what he thought through and wrote out to be his completed theory was mangled by the Super Neos (i.e., the sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists) and other theorists of the 20th century. "The all-important emotion of sympathy is distinct from that of love," Darwin tells us. "A mother may passionately love her sleeping and passive infant, but she can hardly at such times be said to feel sympathy for it. The love of a man for his dog is distinct from sympathy, and so is that of a dog for his master. Adam Smith formerly argued, as has Mr. Bain recently, that the basis of sympathy lies in our strong retentiveness of former states of pain or pleasure. Hence, `the sight of another person enduring hunger, cold, fatigue, revives in us some recollection of these states, which are painful even in idea.' We are thus impelled to relieve the sufferings of another, in order that our own painful feelings may be at the same time relieved. In like manner we are led to participate in the pleasures of others." This idea that our caring for what happens to others is always ultimated motivated by selfishness, as Darwin indicates, was an old idea in philosophy that during the 20th century was revived and made not only the central doctrine of the selfish gene. Music to the ears of everyone of a particularly conservative bent, it was further shown by 67
David Loye the most ingenious methods of both experimental and mathematical proof that innate selfishness lies behind everything we are so foolish as to call altruism, or doing good for others. But this Darwin denies, finding selfishness to be a "base principle," which accounts for "the low morality of savages." [EN DLT etc] Again in The Expression of Emotions he mentions a mother's love, this time in passing to the effect that the love of a mother for her infant, "is one of the strongest of which the mind is capable." He further observes that "a mother may feel the deepest love for her helpless infant, and yet not show it by any outward sign; or only by slight caressing movements, with a gentle smile and tender eyes. But let any one intentionally injure her infant, and see what a change! How she starts up with threatening aspect, how her eyes sparkle and her face reddens, how her bosom heaves, nostrils dilate, and heart beats; for anger, and not maternal love, has habitually led to action." And that is it, really not much about a mother's love within the context of his writings as a whole. Behind it all, one begins to wonder, is something personal involved here? Darwin's Mother "My mother died in July, 1817, when I was a little over eight years old," he tells us--then immediately remarks, "it is odd that I can remember hardly anything about her except her death-bed, her black velvet gown, and her curiously constructed work-table." Odd indeed. He worshiped his father. His early notebooks are filled with instance after instance of wisdom on all sorts of things with the lead in phrase "Father says..." He writes of him warmly and reverently in his autobiography. But for his mother, the brief lines above are all he ever recorded about her. Who was she? Not at all someone obscure, or to be embarrassed about, or unmotherly that we know of. As noted earlier, she was Susannah, old Josiah Wedgewood's favorite daughter, urged upon 68
Dawin in Love Robert, Charles' father, by old Erasmus with the roving eye for rare beauty. Described as "an Etruscan beauty of the Lunar circle," clever, capable, obviously talented musically as she had given old Erasmus music lessons, she was also notably what would have been known in our day as a liberal, certain to have had the abomination of slavery that was Charles' heritage from both the Darwin and Wedgewood sides of the family. She died after a prolonged, wrenching bout with cancer. So devastating was the impact on the family that apparently her daughters as well as Charles hardly ever mentioned her name again. Instead there is the emptiness of grief deflected away from memories that were too painful to allow access to consciousness. This wells up in another incident that almost surely reflected what Darwin had bottled up. It was the burial of a dragoon soldier that he witnessed. He also writes of it in his autobiography, but though it happened shortly after his mother died he apparently never recognized the connection between the impact of her death and the deflection of his feelings to the burial of the dragoon. "It is surprising how clearly I can still see the horse with the man's empty boots and carbine suspended to the saddle, and the firing over the grave." Overcome at the time, the scene haunted him for the rest of his life. Darwin's Illness It's been evident to psychologists interested in Darwin and acquainted with this history that the death of his mother was somehow related to the baffling illness that afflicted him for the rest of his life. Today what Darwin suffered is the hell on earth for many that is so often fobbed off by the baffled enterologist as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. For Darwin it meant seemingly endless hours of stomach pain, vomiting, and an enormous and embarrassing production of gas upstairs in the bedroom, away from guests or family. I suppose I should not put it this way, because his biographers were not insensitive, and I'm sure many were greatly sympathetic. But 69
David Loye for more than 100 years it has been what at time seems a ritualistic sport for his biographers and interested physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists to speculate in print about the cause. The most popular theory has been that the root problem was his father, who in these analyses is almost always portrayed as tyrannical and overbearing. The idea was that Darwin in being forced to suppress his resentment of his father built up within himself a tremendous load of hostility and even hatred for his father, for which he felt guilty. And so he turned the searing force of this hidden stream of emotion inward upon himself, ruining his stomach and regularly punishing himself for these feelings. As a psychologist myself, I frankly feel this idea is a product of what all too often happened with runaway Freudianism. Certainly one can detect something of this sort at work, but I am much more impressed by Darwin's expression of unstinting love and admiration for his father as fact rather than as the cover-up for suppression of the hatred common among the abused children of the authoritarian or dominator parent. Much more sensible is the conclusion of psychiatrist John Bowlby, who wrote an excellent biography of Darwin notable for its sympathetic portrait of Emma. Bowlby was convinced the cause was the impact on a very sensitive child of the death of his mother. Out of the explosive hiding place of repression, this memory became reawakened with his marriage to Emma. Until then he was an unusually strong and vigorous man, Bowlby notes, given to dashing up mountains at such a clip as to wear out the natives while on the voyage of the Beagle. But soon after marriage began the mysterious sickness which Bowlby links to Emma's seemingly nonstop pregnancies. Eleven children were born to them over a period of only twelve years. Each time, Bowlby contends, Darwin's fear that Emma might die and leave him became linked to the suppressed loss he had originally suffered when his mother had died. Via the unconscious this stress became the cause for his stomach problems and debilitating weakness. 70
Dawin in Love One More Theory It's interesting to note that after Emma's child-bearing years were over, Darwin's sickness did finally depart, the last years of his life being of good health once more. This would certainly fit Bowlby's theory. Though I feel there is something to the theory involving his father, and much more to Bowlby's theory linked to his mother, I personally find something else not only but also even more so at work. This was Darwin's incredible sensitivity to the feelings of others. One sees this in the agonies he suffered when he knew he was going to have to hurt the feelings of another. As we saw in chapter two, until Charles and Emma got used to it, respectfully accommodating one another, this came up early in their marriage in his sensitivity to the fact both his feelings toward religion (wavering between deism, athiesm, and agnosticism) and the God-toppling implications of his theory were a matter of considerable distress to the devoutly religious Emma. One also may see this bind of sensitivity, curiously, in the startlingly callous remarks or observations that, with Darwin, can erupt out of the midst of some long passage of tenderness or open emotion. It is as though some voice within himself warns, "I'm getting soft, I must be tough," and so one can almost hear the click of the protective shield go into place in his mind. But of the greatest significance in this regard, I believe, was the fact of first the bombshell of Origin and then his fear that Descent might further massively hurt the feelings of so many people whose good opinion he had sought and cherished, as indeed happened with both books. Repeatedly in Descent he stresses the importance of the fear of blame and the seeking of praise as a prime motivator in our evolution as a species. Yet he was driven by the implacable honesty and power of a mind that refused to let up upon science or himself. The truth as he saw it must be expressed--no matter what happened to his stomach in the process. 71
David Loye That's perhaps more than enough of this kind of psychology for this book. I do feel compelled, however, to add one more thing I feel is relevant to understanding Darwin's life and times and our own--including the work of love at all its many levels, and in all its many places. It is again that what happens is generally no simple matter of this one thing leads to that. The father theory psychologists and Bowlby with his mother love theory are not wrong and I am right. We are all right to varying degrees. Whether one is trying to gauge the love of a mother for the child, or the love of a child for the mother--or whether selfishness or the "higher" drive of love, or a true caring for others, prevails in all the other relationships that make up our lives--it is the mix for motivation one must be sensitive to. To routinely choose the lower and fail to see the higher motivation was the central failing for 20th century science. That is why it was so often called "reductionist." Given the choice, too often it reduced--that is, diminished, deflated, undermined, and even mocked and ridiculed--rather than expanded our vision of ourselves. Again and again, to see with open eyes both levels, then seek to diminish the lower and work to nurture the higher, is the message of the real Darwin for us today. 72
TEN A DOG'S LOVE A special spot at Down House, mentioned earlier, was the Sandwalk (Down House, but Downe with the e for the town, one must note) was a path covered with sand that Darwin had constructed in a bit of woodland he rented from a neighbor. Here the children romped, pets gamboled, and visitors strolled. But mainly, as the beeches shed their leaves, were bare, and then with spring burst into life again, year after year it was used by Darwin for his daily walks. It was here that many of his theories were mulled over. He would lay out a string of flint stones across the path. As he strode up and back, he would kick out one each time to indicate the passage of time. A ten flint problem was a tough one. As cherished places such as this do without our observing it at the time, it also marked out his life. It was here he played with the children when they were young; walked and talked with a stream of visiting cronies and distinguished folk over the years; and staggered with the pain of his second heart attack toward the end. It was here that his grandson Bernard--not understanding what had happened--went to pick a bouquet of wild lilies for him after little Bernard was told by his father that "Granpa has been so ill that he won't be ill any more." It was also where he walked with the dogs that were especially meaningful to him over the years. They ranged from Polly, a roughhaired fox terrier, to Bob, a large black-and-white retriever who entered history through Darwin's description of him in The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals. 73
David Loye Bob, he tells us, "like every other dog, was much pleased to go out walking. He showed his pleasure by trotting gravely before me with high steps, head much raised, moderately erected ears, and tail carried aloft but not stiffly. Not far from my house a path branches off to the right, leading to the hot-house, which I used often to visit for a few moments, to look at my experimental plants. This was always a great disappointment to the dog, as he did not know whether I should continue my walk; and the instantaneous and complete change of expression which came over him as soon as my body swerved in the least towards the path (and I sometimes tried this as an experiment) was laughable. His look of dejection was known to every member of the family, and was called his hot-house face." The Ways of a Dog's Love As we've seen, Darwin loved to slip in the down-to-earth to liven up his science. "The love of a dog for his master is notorious," he wrote. "As an old writer quaintly says, `A dog is the only thing on this earth that luvs you more than he luvs himself.'" "Dogs have another and striking way of exhibiting their affection, namely, by licking the hands or faces of their masters," he observes. "I have also seen dogs licking cats with whom they were friends. This habit probably originated in the females carefully licking their puppies--the dearest object of their love--for the sake of cleansing them ... The same principle probably explains why dogs, when feeling affectionate, like rubbing against their masters and being rubbed or patted by them, for from the nursing of their puppies, contact with a beloved object has become firmly associated in their minds with the emotion of love." Behind this endearing picture, such as Norman Rockwell loved to paint, however, lay the tangled emotions and at times even the anguish of the man in conflict with the requirements for his science. "Every man kills the thing he loves," Oscar Wilde had written in the "Poem of 74
Dawin in Love Reading Gaol." In pursuit of support for his theories Darwin had at one period in his life killed dogs and even puppies to obtain the skeletons needed to clarify this or that point. "In the agony of death a dog has been known to caress his master, and every one has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection, who licked the hand of the operator," he wrote. There then burst from him an observation indicating the depth of his own feelings of guilt and remorse. "This man," he wrote, "unless the operation was fully justified by an increase of our knowledge, or unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life." This conflict came to a head when his daughter Henrietta became a fiercely aroused member of the Anti-Vivisection Society. Darwin himself had never conducted experiments on living animals, but an anti-vivisection bill was being pushed on parliament with powerful support from ministers. However he abhorred the idea, Darwin felt that ending such experiments could stop the progress of science. In a rare personal involvement in politics, winning over Henrietta, he became the chief lobbyist for an alternative to regulate rather than end the experiments that was successfully passed. Perhaps reflecting the ruminations of the Sandwalk, with a dog trotting by his side and a touch of winter in the air, it is interesting that the love of the dog also comes up in at least two places where Darwin is making points that were critical in the development of his theories. The first instance is a reference to something else distorted by many of his scientific successors during the 20th century. Darwin had stressed the link between ourselves and all prior species more than anyone had before him--or since, I personally feel. This link, however, as earlier noted, was seized up by the Super Neos to try to reduce everything that goes on at our level of development to the biology of the prehuman. During the late part of the 20th century there broke out of long suppression a new biology, retaining what still fit of the old biology but now opening up a new future for our species, and for all species, through a new focus on the study of cooperation and love. But even 75
David Loye as the century turned, in most places the old biology was still riding rough shod over anything that failed to fit the doctrine of Origin of the Species or the first half of Darwin's theory. For the Super Neos selfishness embedded in the gene was the favored motivator. In the sharpest possible contrast, Darwin was continually trying to show how in the emergence of love at the prehuman level is foreshadowed the enormous potential for sustaining a different story for life on this earth that arrives with the emergence of the incredible expansion for mind and physical capacities with our species. His successors looked downward and backward toward the past; Darwin himself looks upward and toward the future. "Most of the more complex emotions are common to the higher animals and ourselves," Darwin said. The line is jarring to the notion that we are infinitely superior to and better than the "lower" animals, but at the same time it reflects his observations that what happens at our human level involves complexities ranging far beyond biology into the reach of the psychology and other social sciences that in Descent and Expression he was exploring. "Every one has seen how jealous a dog is of his master's affection, if lavished on any other creature; and I have observed the same fact with monkeys. This shews that animals not only love, but have the desire to be loved. Animals manifestly feel emulation. They love approbation or praise; and a dog carrying a basket for his master exhibits a high degree of self-complacency or pride. There can, I think, be no doubt that a dog feels shame, as distinct from fear, and something very like modesty when begging too often for food. A great dog scorns the snarling of a little dog, and this may be called magnanimity." The Discovery for Which There Was No Name The other place where Darwin's thoughts about a dog's love figure in relation to his theories is one behind which lies something that is still of considerable wonderment for me. The general 76
Dawin in Love impression for over 100 years has been that Darwin only identified two major principles of evolution, Natural Selection and Variation. In fact, as we've glimpsed, he also claimed Sexual Selection was a major factor, and as I explain elsewhere, he named Community Selection as still another. But what I discovered in exploring the long lost or massively ignored parts of his writings was that he identified still another major principle of evolution. For reasons I explain in Darwin's Lost Theory, he never gave this discovery a name, yet he was so captivated by it that it comes up eleven times in Descent. Pursuing it further, I found it was a major factor in evolution that century after century has been rediscovered since the time of the ancient Chinese, but then speedily shoved out of consciousness until next rediscovered and usually given a new name. It is far too complex a matter to get into here, but in essence it is what today is known as "self-organizing processes." Being explored with great excitement throughout many fields of science, at the core lies something familiar to the experience of all of us. For a long time now we've called it learning--or the gaining of new information, and working it over to fit and change both ourselves and our surroundings. "We are ourselves conscious that some habits are much more difficult to cure or change than others," he wrote. This seems reasonable enough. Who hasn't encountered the problem? "Hence a struggle may often be observed in animals between different instincts, or between an instinct and some habitual disposition; as when a dog rushes after a hare, is rebuked, pauses, hesitates, pursues again, or returns ashamed to his master; or as between the love of a female dog for her young puppies and for her master, for she may be seen to slink away to them, as if half ashamed of not accompanying her master." This basic situation he returns to ten more times in Descent, digging ever deeper into the cognitive processes involved in the comparison of our memories of the past with what is happening in the present, with an eye to what is to be done to bring about a favorable future. 77
David Loye Expanding in subtlety and power from the animal to the human level, on the Isle of Wight and back home at Downe on the Sandwalk Darwin probed the dimensions of what today is being explored at the leading edges of science and spirituality as the great new prospect for a more effective understanding not only of learning but even more so of conscious evolution--or of how we can not only more effectively better our own lives but also the lives of all of us. It is the challenge of how each one of us, once so awakened, may serve our species and all species as evolutionary outriders for the surge of life into the future. The Prankster This has been rather on the heavy side for a chapter starting out with something as charming but seemingly light weight as a dog's love for its subject. So let us end with a bit of comic relief. This is a Darwinian vignette I've long cherished. "Dogs shew what may be fairly called a sense of humour, as distinct from mere play," he observes. How so? "If a bit of stick or other such object be thrown to one, he will often carry it away for a short distance; and then squatting down with it on the ground close before him, will wait until his master comes quite close to take it away. The dog will then seize it and rush away in triumph, repeating the same manuvre, and evidently enjoying the practical joke." 78
ELEVEN IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE Ah, music! Beyond paint, beyond sculpture, beyond words, only dance begins to approach its range for the expression of love! But is this the same kind of love we've been looking at so far? For unless one is really into it, there does seem to be a difference. In other words, with love linked to our feelings for a mate, or a child, or a pet, there seems to be involved this definite bodily grounding or feeling of bedrock substantiality. But music, is this not something else? Liking maybe, but love? Are we not looking at something more like a random breeze than something firm, down-toearth, rooted in the soil? Yes, there is a difference, but we are now moving out of the valleys into the mountains or higher ranges or wider resonations of love. I come to this chapter fresh from listening to what presently seems to me the ultimate music of love, the impromptus of Franz Schubert. Following his death at age 31, these miraculous works, astounding in their range of emotion, tended to languish on the shelf until Robert Schuman came along. Fortunately, Schuman was a music critic as well as a pianist, conductor, and composer. As the editor of a popular European journal on music, with the power of a regular readership, he brought Schubert back to life again. It is also no coincidence that Schubert's Unfinished Symphony is not only the most popular of all symphonies worldwide. Its main melody was picked up and given words to become the widely-known popular song "The Song of Love." 79
David Loye Where does music come from? What leads from somewhere in the deepest past for ours and all other species to the fingers of Mozart, Schubert, Schuman, or Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, or Count Basie on the keyboard? Where and how did it begin? One can see why Darwin, similarly moved--and perhaps intuiting the evenings that lay ahead with her piano playing in their home in Downe--found in Emma, the student of Chopin, the woman he wanted to spend this lifetime with. ...Play On: a Darwinian Paean "Music arouses in us various emotions, but not the more terrible ones of horror, fear, and rage," he observes. "It awakens the gentler feelings of tenderness and love, which readily pass into devotion. In the Chinese annals it is said, `Music hath the power of making heaven descend upon earth.'" "These powerful and mingled feelings may well give rise to the sense of sublimity," he continues. "We can concentrate, as Dr. Seemann observes, greater intensity of feeling in a single musical note than in pages of writing. It is probable that nearly the same emotions, but much weaker and far less complex, are felt by birds when the male pours forth his full volume of song, in rivalry with other males, to captivate the female. Love is still the commonest theme of our songs." What do the philosophers tell us? He turns to two deep thinkers for his time who presumably had something profound to say about everything. "As Herbert Spencer remarks, `music arouses dormant sentiments of which we had not conceived the possibility, and do not know the meaning; or, as Richter says, tells us of things we have not seen and shall not see.'" It's evoked when vivid emotions are felt and expressed by orators, "or even in common speech, musical cadences and rhythm are 80
Dawin in Love instinctively used." The black in Africa, "when excited often bursts forth in song. Another will reply in song, whilst the company, as if touched by a musical wave, murmur a chorus in perfect unison." But where does music come from? How and where did it begin? "The sensations and ideas thus excited in us by music, or expressed by the cadences of oratory, appear from their vagueness, yet depth, like mental reversions to the emotions and thoughts of a long-past age. All these facts with respect to music and impassioned speech become intelligible to a certain extent, if we may assume that musical tones and rhythm were used by our half-human ancestors during the season of courtship, when animals of all kinds are excited not only by love, but by the strong passions of jealousy, rivalry, and triumph." This we've seen. But what accounts for music's specific effects? Why does it make us feel the way we do? "From the deeply-laid principle of inherited associations, musical tones in this case would be likely to call up vaguely and indefinitely the strong emotions of a long-past age. We can thus understand how it is that music, dancing, song, and poetry are such very ancient arts." The Universal Song During the breeding season, Darwin tells us, almost all male mammals use their voices more than at any other time. Some are even "absolutely mute excepting at this season." With other species both sexes, "or only the females, use their voices as a love-call." His examples here provide quite a range for animal crooners, chanteuses, and even opera stars. In this last category is Hylobates agilis, whom Darwin helpfully identifies as "an ape allied to man." "This gibbon has an extremely loud but musical voice," he tells us. For proof, he provides the following account by a Mr.Waterhouse. 81
David Loye "It appeared to me that in ascending and descending the scale, the intervals were always exactly half-tones; and I am sure that the highest note was the exact octave to the lowest. The quality of the notes is very musical; and I do not doubt that a good violinist would be able to give a correct idea of the gibbon's composition, excepting as regards its loudness." Knowing how prone the scholar might be to discounting his fellow bird-watcher Waterhouse as a mere layman, Darwin further tells us that Professor Owen, "who is a musician, confirms the foregoing statement." But Professor Owen, it seems, erroneously claims that the gibbon "alone of brute mammals may be said to sing." Out of their long association together in the world of plants and animals, the father the putterer and explorer, the son his adoring research assistant, there now enters a quiet moment of family pride. "This gibbon is not the only species in the genus which sings, for my son, Francis Darwin, attentively listened in the Zoological Gardens to H.leuciscus whilst singing a cadence of three notes, in true musical intervals and with a clear musical voice." At the other extreme from the gibbon for size is the singing mouse. Can such exist other than in Mickey Mouse and other Disney animations? In this case, Darwin tells us, an "imposture is suspected"--that is, that this is so much hooey. But Darwin provides the account of Reverend S.Lockwood, who not only has the authority of the church behind him but is also "a wellknown observer." In one of the two chief songs for his mouse, Reverend Lockwood tells us, "the last bar would frequently be prolonged to two or three; and she would sometimes change from C sharp and D, to C natural and D, then warble on these two notes awhile, and wind up with a quick chirp on C sharp and D. The distinctness between the semitones was very marked, and easily appreciable to a good ear." Reverend Lockwood not only provided formal musical notation for both songs, but also added that though this little mouse "had no ear 82
Dawin in Love for time, yet she would keep to the key of B (two flats) and strictly in a major key." "Her soft clear voice falls an octave with all the precision possible," he also tells us, "and then at the wind up, it rises again into a very quick trill on C sharp and D." I don't want to make this a matter of national pride, but Darwin does tell us, and I feel compelled to dutifully record, that this diminutive Judy Garland was "of an American species, the Hersperomys cognatus, which belong to a genu distinct from that of the English mouse." And then there are the aspirants, the also rans, whose attempts are politely tolerated but a secret embarrassment. "But what shall we say about the harsh screams of, for instance, some kinds of macaws?" Darwin declaims. "Have these birds as bad taste for musical sounds as they apparently have for colour, judging by the inharmonious contrast of their bright yellow and blue plumage?" He then strikes home to what, it is claimed, has been the experience of many a human, most specifically female in gender. As he cannot find that any evolutionary advantage has been gained, he speculates that "the loud voices of many male birds may be the result of the inherited effects of the continued use of their vocal organs when excited by the strong passions of love, jealousy and rage." What We Can Feel However greatly he loved music, Darwin was not much of a concert-goer, so we have no comparable information on his observations of singers and their experiences with impresarios at our level of evolution. Part of this was because he lived in such a small village, which would have been hard put to support an occasional hurdy-gurdy player. But even when he lived in London before marriage, while for 83
David Loye his more worldly brother Erasmus the concerts were a cherished part of the social whirl, Darwin was generally too busy to take them in. There is a sadness here. From these quoted passages Darwin's own great love of music is obvious. During his dying days, he frequently asked Emma to play Bach and Handel. What one could not have guessed, however, was something that must have particularly endeared to him the little singing mouse who could stay on tune but couldn't keep time. For though his appreciation of music was intense, he was hopelessly inept and ungifted for either tune or time himself. In his autobiography, for example, he tells of how in his student days at Cambridge fellow music lovers, noticing his musical ineptitude, tried an experiment to test him. They played perhaps the most familiar tune in all of England,"God Save the King," at different speeds, fast and slow. But try as hard as he might, Darwin could not recognize what it was. He might not have known how to keep time or sing in tune himself, but he certainly knew what it felt like to listen to music. Based on his own intense feelings, and also we may assume observations of his children on many evenings at Down House with songs by the piano, he left us this description of the effects of music, as well as love, upon us. "As several of our strongest emotions--grief, great joy, love, and sympathy--lead to the free secretion of tears, it is not surprising that music should be apt to cause our eyes to become suffused with tears, especially when we are already softened by any of the tenderer feelings." He also noted that music often produces what he called "another peculiar effect." "We know that every strong sensation, emotion, or excitement --extreme pain, rage, terror, joy, or the passion of love--all have a special tendency to cause the muscles to tremble." Also generally "the thrill or slight shiver which runs down the backbone and limbs of many persons when they are powerfully affected by music, seems to 84
Dawin in Love bear the same relation to the above trembling of the body, as a slight suffusion of tears from the power of music does to weeping from any strong and real emotion." A Hair-raising Tale From the time of the troubadours celebrated by Wagner in "Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg" to the reign on television and video of the Three Tenors--and their counterparts, the Three Sopranos--there has been a special quality of excitement in our world about competitions among singers. It happens, too, in the animal world, Darwin tells us. But here we find the potential for reaching a degree of strain, ferocity, and surrealistic mayhem still beyond the capacity for even the most extreme screaming, squealing, and guitar bashing of rock concerts. Darwin prepares the squeamish and the tender-hearted for what is to come by warning us of "an intense degree of rivalry between the males in their singing." "Bird-fanciers match their birds to see which will sing longest; and I was told by Mr. Yarrell that a first-rate bird will sometimes sing till he drops down almost dead, or according to Bechstein, quite dead from rupturing a vessel in the lungs." Certainly we are spared such a spectacle in the human world. However, our old friend Mr.Jenner Weir is here to pass on the observation that male birds often die suddenly, presumably of the strain, "during the season of song." Darwin also tells what could be read as a cautionary tale for avoiding whatever in science or the real world leads to what can happen when sex for a creature of any size becomes maximally frustrated. He leads into it mildly enough by telling us that "the habit of singing is sometimes quite independent of love." But this is clear to him because of what happened to "a sterile, hybrid canary-bird" 85
David Loye observed by a Mr.Bold. Ostensibly the sterile canary's unusual behavior was provoked by seeing an image of himself in a mirror, while singing. Not only did he repeatedly dash at his own image in the mirror, but he "likewise attacked with fury a female canary, when put into the same cage." Supposedly the poor bird thought the mirror image of himself was a rival entering his territory. But one wonders if the frustration of being sterile might not also have had something to do with it. Darwin then provides another tale that will be perhaps be read with nods of recognition and even possibly laughter by professional singers who recognize in the bird-catcher in this vignette the wily ways of the impresario for luring large audiences into concert halls. . The jealousy excited by the act of singing "is constantly taken advantage of by bird-catchers." A male "in good song, is hidden and protected, whilst a stuffed bird, surrounded by limed twigs, is exposed to view. In this manner, as Mr. Weir informs me, a man has in the course of a single day caught fifty, and in one instance, seventy, male chaffinches." But perhaps most hair-raising of all--particularly if one is a singer in our world and happens to imagine this as the climax for the big concert--is what was done in that day and age to the Pavarottis, Domingoes, and Cerreras of the bird world. "The power and inclination to sing differ so greatly with birds that although the price of an ordinary male chaffinch is only sixpence, Mr. Weir saw one bird for which the bird-catcher asked three pounds." The test "of a really good singer," Mr.Weir tells Darwin, is "that it will continue to sing whilst the cage is swung round the owner's head." 86
TWELVE THINGS WE LOVE For all our possible warmth as a people and toward other people, in contrast to Europe we Americans tend to be peculiarly unloving when it comes to the love of things. I mean real love, not merely the piling up of possessions. It is as though the Europeans, having been there for thousands of year in contrast to our raw three or four hundred, learned long ago to cherish the things we shoot past without seeing. So often they have this special feeling for all the things that endure beyond the swift passage of each succeeding generation of human life--the look and feel of certain houses, little decorative touches, the opening out or closing in of village squares, hidden walkways, dishes, rugs, old spoons from the past. They have a better feeling for the grounding value in this love that can be ours of whatever is more permanent than ourselves. When younger, I came to see and feel this keenly as a research psychologist. While researching some problem forgotten now I was struck by the contrast between we Americans and our British counterparts. Where the Americans were dutifully working solely with monkeys and rats, preferably uniformly white, British research fairly shook, rattled, and rolled with the reports of the before and after doings of weasles, shoats, pigeons, lizards, even octupi. (Moreover, this was non-invasive, non hurtful research, I should note, mazes and that sort of thing). Similarly, where the language of our American scientific reports was about as flat and unlovely as one could possibly make it, theirs at 87
David Loye times reveled in the graciousness and richness that revealed the abiding influence of the age of Shakespeare. It is this we find, too, in Darwin. After a century of our being scientifically starved, deadened, and nullified for lack of the lift of art, I think his love of the natural rhythms and down-to-earth patterns for language, along with a taste for a bit of color and a twist of humor here and there, is no small part of what, in bringing him back to life here as a person and in terms of his larger and more hopeful theory, he can bequeath to the science of the 21st century. The Love of Beauty We've glimpsed in Darwin's ecstasy over the new look of things at sea, and on the docking of the Beagle in Brazil, how great was his love of beauty. First articulated in his early notebooks, the question of why we have this love became a fascination for him suppressed by the need to function as the analytical scientist. But with the scientific freedom of the status of "having made it," he felt he could indulge himself once more in the writing of Descent. "This sense has been declared to be peculiar to man. I refer here only to the pleasure given by certain colours, forms, and sounds, which may fairly be called a sense of the beautiful. With cultivated men such sensations are, however, intimately associated with complex ideas and trains of thought." For me this is an intriguing observation. I knew the psychologist Herman Witkin. Through years of experiments and test development, some 90 years or so after Darwin wrote this, Witkin proved that "cultivation" is indeed correlated with a preference for complexities of form and thought and made it the basis of a new test of intelligence. "When we behold a male bird elaborately displaying his graceful plumes or splendid colours before the female, whilst other birds, not thus decorated, make no such display," Darwin continues, "it is impossible to doubt that she admires the beauty of her male partner. 88
Dawin in Love As women everywhere deck themselves with these plumes, the beauty of such ornaments cannot be disputed." He calls our attention to the fact that "the nests of humming-birds, and the playing passages of bower-birds are tastefully ornamented with gaily-coloured objects." This, he is convinced, "shews that they must receive some kind of pleasure from the sight of such things." "With the great majority of animals, however, the taste for the beautiful is confined, as far as we can judge, to the attractions of the opposite sex." As noted earlier, the songs "poured forth by many male birds during the season of love, are certainly admired by the females." Moreover, if the females "had been incapable of appreciating the beautiful colours, the ornaments, and voices of their male partners, all the labour and anxiety exhibited by the latter in displaying their charms before the females would have been thrown away." This, he finds, "impossible to admit." "Why certain bright colours should excite pleasure cannot, I presume, be explained, any more than why certain flavours and scents are agreeable; but habit has something to do with the result, for that which is at first unpleasant to our senses, ultimately becomes pleasant." He thinks these habits are inherited--an idea his successors reject as something Darwin was fuzzy on. This is understandable as the massive studies of genetics that came to underlie a good part of 20th century evolution theory were then lying some forty years ahead in time. He also continues to make observations of interest to the psychologist of perception today. But more to the point of our interest here is the way that in the end he links our sense of beauty back to sex. Patterns of a regular and pleasing kind "are employed by even the lowest savages as ornaments; and they have been developed through sexual selection for the adornment of some male animals." 89
David Loye As well as for the pleasure of the females, we might add, going by what he's told us. The Love of Truth Beauty, truth, and goodness--these were the three prime verities for classic philosophy. This was particularly true for Immanuel Kant, whose moral philosophy was especially meaningful to Darwin in the development of his own theory of moral evolution. We have looked at the first of these verities, beauty, now the second, truth. "Mungo Park's touching account of the kindness of the negro women of the interior to him is well known." Park was one of the most famous explorers of Africa in Darwin's day. "Many instances could be given of the noble fidelity of savages towards each other, but not to strangers." There cannot, however, "be fidelity without truth; and this fundamental virtue is not rare between the members of the same tribe." What Darwin found touching and meaningful was that "Mungo Park heard the negro women teaching their young children to love the truth." This, he tells us, "is one of the virtues which becomes so deeply rooted in the mind, that it is sometimes practised by savages, even at a high cost, towards strangers." Again this is in striking contradiction to what 20th century Darwinians made of Darwin. In other words, according to this science we're so boxed in by "selfish genes," "kinship selection," and "reciprocal altruism"--to name their favorite labels--we are implacably programmed by natural selection to do only that which benefits ourselves or others within our own highly exclusive "gene pool." But if this were wholly true, why would the savages that Darwin brings up at this point tell the truth to strangers, "even at high cost" to themselves? 90
Dawin in Love This difference between the Darwin of reality and the Darwin of their fiction in the case of so fundamental an aspect of morality, moral evolution, and journalism as "to tell the truth" comes up again and again. Why might we persist in telling the truth in such situations, where we have little to gain and possibly much to lose? "It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason," Darwin tells us. "But to lie to your enemy," he adds, "has rarely been thought a sin, as the history of modern diplomacy too plainly shews." The Love of Freedom In many places in The Voyage of the Beagle Charles echoed the Darwin and Wedgewood heritage of a fierce feeling for freedom for the individual from all forms of oppression along with both families' implacable hatred of slavery. Here is one such passage. "As the moon rose early, we determined to start the same evening for our sleeping-place at the Lagoa Marica. As it was growing dark we passed under one of the massive, bare, and steep hills of granite which are so common in this country. This spot is notorious from having been, for a long time, the residence of some runaway slaves, who, by cultivating a little ground near the top, contrived to eke out a subsistence. At length they were discovered, and a party of soldiers being sent, the whole were seized with the exception of one old woman, who, sooner than again be led into slavery, dashed herself to pieces from the summit of the mountain. In a Roman matron this would have been called the noble love of freedom. In a poor negress it is considered mere brutal obstinacy." 91
David Loye The Love of War Under the shadow of nuclear annihilation--for though we bask in the notion we are safe, those who try to keep track of where all the missiles are, or may or may not still be, know how fragile the situation is--it's no longer popular to talk or write of the love of war. It remains a fact, however, of which we need every reminder. "I was told by the missionaries that in the life of Shongi, the chief who visited England, the love of war was the one and lasting spring of every action," Darwin wrote in The Voyage of the Beagle. "The tribe in which he was a principal chief had at one time been oppressed by another tribe from the Thames River (New Zealand apparently, not England!). A solemn oath was taken by the men that when their boys should grow up, and they should be powerful enough, they would never forget or forgive these injuries. To fulfil this oath appears to have been Shongi's chief motive for going to England; and when there it was his sole object. Presents were valued only as they could be converted into arms; of the arts, those alone interested him which were connected with the manufacture of arms." "When at Sydney, Shongi, by a strange coincidence, met the hostile chief of the Thames River at the house of Mr. Marsden. Their conduct was civil to each other; but Shongi told him that when again in New Zealand he would never cease to carry war into his country. The challenge was accepted; and Shongi on his return fulfilled the threat to the utmost letter. The tribe on the Thames River was utterly overthrown, and the chief to whom the challenge had been given was himself killed." "Shongi, although harbouring such deep feelings of hatred and revenge," Darwin notes, "is described as having been a good-natured person." 92
Dawin in Love Love of the Chase In Voyage, Darwin writes of another love which can no longer register as such with people who today are more horrified than entranced by the merry fox hunt days for the proper Briton. Yet if we called what he is really writing about here the love of adventure and the love of nature, we could understand. "It has been said, that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in man--a relic of an instinctive passion. If so, I am sure the pleasure of living in the open air, with the sky for a roof and the ground for a table, is part of the same feeling. It is the savage returning to his wild and native habits. I always look back to our boat cruises, and my land journeys, when through unfrequented countries, with an extreme delight, which no scenes of civilization could have created. I do not doubt that every traveller must remember the glowing sense of happiness which he experienced, when he first breathed in a foreign clime, where the civilized man had seldom or never trod.." Love of the Surf Here is one that 20th century science would have shuddered over had its diligent thought police discovered it. Fortunately, it was buried in an obscure paper by Darwin that, along with so much else of much greater importance, no one bothered to read any more. It comes up in The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs of 1842. Citing Ehrenberg (see Ehrenberg, ьber die Nдtur und Bildung de Corallen Bдnke im rothen Meere, p. 49, Darwin advises us), he tells us this forceful Prussian has observed "that in the Red Sea the strongest corals live on the outer reefs, and appear to love the surf." This is quickly fuzzed a bit by noting that "the more branched kinds abound a little way within, but that even these in still more protected places, become smaller." But there, inescapably, it is. Love of the surf, indeed! As if the lowly coral could really feel such a lofty 93
David Loye thing. And this is not only the indiscretion of--of all people--a German scientist. Darwin himself, by shamelessly telling this, is collaborating in this inexcusable lapse into anthropomorphism! Love of the Home Place The best expression of the love of the home place that I can think of is that of Kenneth Graham--a minor official in the Bank of England, born in the year of the publication of Origin, 1859, who must have known and cherished Darwin's own animal tales. Graham wrote the children's classic Wind in the Willows. The episode goes something like this, as I recall. Ratty and the Mole are trudging through a snow storm trying to get back to the Rat's place along the river. Mole suddenly stops, sniffs the air, and says he thinks he's near his old home place. "Come along now," Ratty says sharply, "we've got to get on, it's getting colder." As they trudge on, he comes to realize that the Mole, beside him, is shaking with sobs. What's the trouble? Between sobs, the Mole explains that he realizes it isn't much, nothing like the grandeur of Toad Hall, or the river front excitement of the Rat's dwelling, but he realizes they just passed where he used to live, his old home, and he had just wanted to see it for one last time, but no matter, no matter ... He trudges on. Rat stops sharply. What an insensitive fool I have been! Of course we must go back! So the pair trudge back to dig through the snow to find it. And once inside they light a fire, and while the wind and snow rage overhead, safe and warm there underground, they bask together for one last time in the Mole's love of the old home place. Darwin's daughter Henrietta comes across in the biographies as a prissy hypochondriac who probably here and there mangled The Descent of Man while acting as its first editor. Up in arms because of what she felt were Darwin's "crude and half thought-out views" of religion, she later threatened a lawsuit against her own brother Francis 94
Dawin in Love unless he stopped publication of Darwin's autobiography after his death. Yet she must have spoken for all of them in this description of the Down House of their childhood, in which one again finds the overriding power of the love of the home place. "I think of a sound we always associated with summer days," wrote Etty, "the rattle of the fly-wheel of the well drawing water for the garden; the lawn burnt brown, the garden a blaze of colour, the six oblong beds in front of the drawing-room windows, with phloxes, lilies and larkspurs in the middle, and Portulacas, verbenas, Gazanias, and other low growing plants in front, looking brighter than flowers ever do now; the row of lime-trees humming with bees, my father lying under them; children trotting about, with probably a kitten and a dog, and my mother dressed in a lilac muslin, wondering why the blackcaps did not sing the same tune as they did at Maer." 95
THIRTEEN OUR WAYS AND WILES OF LOVE By now some may be impatient with this attention to the love life of "animals." When will Darwin get to "us"? It won't be long now, but it is the variety of the love life of other species in what it foreshadows of what over millions of years becomes us that does most intrigue him. One reason for this is that the pursuit of the naturalist was what he was trained and had trained himself for. He did not think of himself as a psychologist, as his brilliant cousin Francis Galton became. Or as a psychologist, sociologist, and systems scientist as well as philosopher to boot, as his friend the redoubtable Herbert Spencer was. Scientifically, what went on at the much more complex level of development for our species was alien territory to Darwin. Yet with a depth, breadth, and accuracy that eluded both Galton and Spencer he boldly pushed himself on to an amazing achievement. Only now, as I detail elsewhere, can we begin to see the uncanny level of understanding of our species in terms of social and systems science that Darwin reached because he felt compelled to range beyond Origin's brutal beginning to adequately complete his theory of evolution. Another reason for his emphasis on the roots of love among the animals was that he felt that only by understanding this foundation in its wondrous variety could we ever begin to understand the great superstructural glory of love's resonance and range at our level of development--or rather, let us say, at our level of potential development. 96
Dawin in Love Still another reason was a matter of bedrock practicality. While one might seek and speak about the connection between sex and love among the other species, to do so about "us" was unthinkable in the proper scientific and social circles of Victorian England. Old Erasmus, the grandfather who merrily hopped from bed to bed and had merrily also connected the two in erotic poetry, by his grandson's time was considered such a scandalous figure that Emma and Henrietta chopped great chunks from the biography of Erasmus that Charles attempted to write during his final years. It was not only a time in England when anything like the Kinsey Report, or Masters and Johnson, or ballyhooed authorities chattering about the significance of the "G spot" on television was inconceivable. Even Freud and the notion of "polymorphous perversity," or the incestuous underpinning for the Oedipus Complex--which lay only a few years ahead in time--would have been an impossibility. Had such sexual blabber-mouths emerged in the England that descended on Oscar Wilde like a ton of bricks they would have been forced to flee to such areas of depravity to the English eye as France, and even there they might have encountered difficulty. Within such a context, we may see one of the reasons why Darwin in writing Descent--as well as Emma, who hovered about in the background, and Henrietta who acted as the book's first editor--worried so much about the reception that lay ahead for it. What might the critics make of so mild but then risque an observation that during the year round season of love for our species, "the temperature of the body is higher in the male than in the female, accompanied in the case of man by a slower pulse"? He tried to divert attention from this daring passage by hastily interjecting that this was also true "as low down in the organic scale as the Lepidoptera"--that is, in butterflies and moths. But hang it all, one had to now and then call a spade a spade. He seems to have insisted that his editors--with likely his rather prim daughter 97
David Loye Henrietta in mind--must rigorously dismiss the human sex act from mind and allow to remain at least this one observation bold for his time. "On the whole the expenditure of matter and force by the two sexes"--writes Darwin of what transpires between us--"is probably nearly equal, though effected in very different ways and at different rates." The Promiscuous and the Proper To satisfy the urge to say something of significance about our own species in this verboten regard, as countless other scientists and scholars have done to avoid the messy problems of dealing with the present and future, Darwin turned to the safe and happy hunting ground of the deep past. At issue was the enticing question of whether or not the earliest human society was communist, with communal marriage--that is, all the males and females swapping around and sharing one another. It is a curiosity of history worth noting that while Darwin the wealthy country gentleman was ruminating as follows, perhaps on the Sandwalk, only 16 miles away in grinding poverty, in the worst section of Soho in London, lived the most notorious trouble-maker of the age, Karl Marx. They died a year apart from one another, Darwin in 1882 and Marx in 1883. The interesting part of it here was that, unknown to each other, the two were likely almost simultaneously pondering the implications of the radical question of whether our social beginnings were in communism and "promiscuity." We know their thoughts zeroed in on the same area because in notes to his remarks on the issue Darwin refers to Swiss anthropologist Johan Jacob Bachoven and American Anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan as his sources. The two first gained serious scientific attention because of the case they made for the earliest societies being matriarchies, with women ruling, rather than patriarchies ruled by men. (Actually, the data showed neither, but 98
Dawin in Love more of an equality of the sexes). Marx's partner Friedrich Engels discovered Bachofen and Moran about this time, and fired up by the implications of such enticing ideas for the spread of modern communism began working on a book about it with Marx's input. "Although the manner of development of the marriage-tie is an obscure subject," Darwin opines, he must disagree with the ideas of Bachoven, Morgan and others "on the former prevalence of almost promiscuous intercourse." For himself personally, "I cannot believe that absolutely promiscuous intercourse prevailed in times past." "Man, as I have attempted to shew, is certainly descended from some ape-like creature. With the existing Quadrumana, as far as their habits are known, the males of some species are monogamous, but live during only a part of the year with the females. Several kinds, for example some of the Indian and American monkeys, are strictly monogamous, and associate all the year round with their wives. Others are polygamous, for example the gorilla and several American species, and each family lives separate." He is trying to be fair about the matter, but his part of the argument is clear: he's four square for monogamy. In keeping with postmodernist cynicism, it would be easy to say that Darwin here is merely a captive of his own loyalties and the proper upper class British expectancy. But while this may shade the argument somewhat, it is also evident he is sincerely and honestly trying to get at what really happened. And he simply finds unlikely the lockstep ideas of wholesale ancient promiscuity or communal marriage. Going back and forth, as was his way, but steadily driving toward one view more than the other, Darwin moves on for a look at the question in terms of what tribal life in his own time might suggest. "Although savages are now extremely licentious, and although communal marriages may formerly have largely prevailed, yet many tribes practise some form of marriage, but of a far more lax nature than that of civilised nations. Polygamy, as just stated, is almost 99
David Loye universally followed by the leading men in every tribe. Nevertheless there are tribes, standing almost at the bottom of the scale, which are strictly monogamous." To illustrate, he gives the case of the Veddahs of Ceylon. "They have a saying, `that death alone can separate husband and wife.' An intelligent Kandyan chief, of course a polygamist, `was perfectly scandalised at the utter barbarism of living with only one wife, and never parting until separated by death.' It was, he said, `just like the Wanderoo monkey.'" Messing Around with the Deep Past And so Darwin does his best, but in the end confronts the difficulty of knowing exactly what happened way back then because of the mess that has been made of the deep past by many generations of male scholars. It is an involved story, too long to go into here in detail, but the essential irony is this. It was a case of the existence of the prehistoric cultural emergence of the "love track" that was buried by the same paradigm that buried Darwin's perception of and theory of the "love track" in our time. Perception of the existence of something of this nature at work was stock in trade for the founders of sociology and political science as well as psychoanalysts such as Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich. There were accurate perceptions of an over-riding hidden power of something variously called the The Man, The Establishment, The System, The Military-Industrial Complex, or The Power Elite throughout the 19th and the 20th centuries. But along with the heresy of Darwin's interest in love and his otherwise "soft side," these insights were routinely shoved into what might be called the Black Hole of Paradigm until the arrival of a book, The Chalice and the Blade, in which cultural evolution theorist Riane Eisler tracked the ups and downs of 35,000 years of our cultural evolution. What emerged was a 100
Dawin in Love new view of ourselves as the puppets of a hidden "puppet master" in terms of a 5,000-year-old conflict between "dominator" and "partnership" ways of life. Within Eisler's perspective, what Darwin was probing within what on the surface seems to be only a charming or horrifying collection of animal tales was actually his roundabout way of getting at the nature of the same task for human evolution that Eisler deals with in our time. In Descent he was writing of the roots, workings, importance, ethos, and scientific expression of the "love track" that lies at the core of Eisler's peaceful "partnership" way. By contrast, Origin is the earlier powerful articulation and scientific expression of the violence and essential brutality of the "dominator" way. "At a very early period, before man attained to his present rank in the scale, many of his conditions would be different from what now obtains amongst savages," he comments--and then begins to bow out of the problem of messing around with the deep past without the data of the thousands of studies by modern scientists and scholars of all types that Eisler brought together in her book. Though in trying to understand and explain the workings of evolution, he himself wavered between the dominator paradigm of Origin and the partnership alternative long hidden within Descent, it is interesting to see how often his basic honesty pointed him in what are not simply feminist, but embracing us all, male and female alike, more truly humanist directions. "At this early period," he conjectures, we would not "have partially lost one of the strongest of all instincts, common to all the lower animals, namely the love of their young offspring; and consequently they would not have practised female infanticide." "Nor would women be valued merely as useful slaves or beasts of burden," he observed. 101
David Loye Human Ways and Wiles However much it may jolt the ego at our level, it must be faced. Aside from all the other reasons for avoiding us, Darwin was just much more fascinated by the ways and wiles of plants and animals than of his own species. But given the uphill struggle he faced in the 19th century and what was done to him in the 20th, who can blame him? Gone at our level are the fetching little stories and charming informants like Messrs.Weir and Bartlett. Even when turning to us, Darwin has to get a dog in. The language of love and other emotions, he tells us, is demonstrated by expressive "movements of any part of the body, as the wagging of a dog's tail, the shrugging of a man's shoulders, the erection of the hair, the exudation of perspiration, the state of the capillary circulation, laboured breathing, and the use of the vocal or other sound-producing instruments." At the human level, however, Mr.Bain enters the picture as a favored informant 15 times. Him we do know something about. He was Alexander Bain, one of the great psychologists of his time, particularly noted for pioneering the study of habit--an aspect of key importance in Darwin's development of the long missing completion for his theory of evolution. [EN] Bain, Darwin tells us, has remarked on "'the shyness of manners which is induced between the sexes ... from the influence of mutual regard, by the apprehension on either side of not standing well with the other.' A young man, not very liable to blush, will blush intensely at any slight ridicule of his appearance from a girl whose judgment on any important subject he would disregard." "No happy pair of young lovers, valuing each other's admiration and love more than anything else in the world," Darwin comments, "probably ever courted each other without many a blush. Even the barbarians of Tierra del Fuego, according to Mr. Bridges, blush 102
Dawin in Love `chiefly in regard to women, but certainly also at their own personal appearance.'" He also gives us a brief lexicon on kissing and its alternatives around the world. "We Europeans are so accustomed to kissing as a mark of affection, that it might be thought to be innate in mankind; but this is not the case. Jemmy Button, the Fuegian, told me that this practice was unknown in his land. It is equally unknown with the New Zealanders, Tahitians, Papuans, Australians, Somals of Africa, and the Esquimaux. But it is so far innate or natural that it apparently depends on pleasure from close contact with a beloved person; and it is replaced in various parts of the world, by the rubbing of noses, as with the New Zealanders and Laplanders, by the rubbing or patting of the arms, breasts, or stomachs, or by one man striking his own face with the hands or feet of another." "Perhaps the practice of blowing, as a mark of affection, on various parts of the body may depend on the same principle," he boldly speculates. The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals One thinks that surely we will find something in Darwin about the love calls, songs, dances or antics of our own species if we go on beyond Descent to the book he wrote next. This is the book that still remains a classic for the field of psychology, Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals.[EN Tomkins]. Here one is heartened by finding the little quarrel he picks with "Sir C. Bell," who has insisted there is a sharp distinction between ourselves and the so-called lower animals when it comes to expressive abilities. On the behalf of the much greater range of expression for our species, Sir C. Bell has asserted that with "the lower creatures there is no expression but what may be referred, more or less plainly, to their 103
David Loye acts of volition or necessary instincts." Bell further maintains that their faces "seem chiefly capable of expressing rage and fear." This is waving the red flag at Darwin. Having gone up against both the church and much of the science of his time, having suffered the psychological tortures of the damned to show the evolutionary kinship between ourselves and all other life forms, without a moment's hesitation he deserts us to champion the cause of the prehuman. I read somewhere, but have been unable to find the source again, that even when an old man he did not hesitate to charge in and remonstrate with a cabbie who was beating his horse. Man, Darwin counters Sir Bell, "cannot express love and humility by external signs, so plainly as does a dog, when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexuous body, and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master. Nor can these movements in the dog be explained by acts of volition or necessary instincts, any more than the beaming eyes and smiling cheeks of a man when he meets an old friend." "If Sir C. Bell had been questioned about the expression of affection in the dog," he wryly observes of the kind of science his own careful work replaced, "he would no doubt have answered that this animal had been created with special instincts, adapting him for association with man, and that all further enquiry on the subject was superfluous." Yes, but does he have anything favorable to say about us as love callers, songsters, or dancers? Other than his observations of the expressiveness of a mother's love, noted earlier, here he only observes that the love of the lover for the beloved "is widely different from maternal love, and when lovers meet, we know that their hearts beat quickly, their breathing is hurried, and their faces flush." 104
Dawin in Love The Happy Years I must confess that on typing that mild Darwinian observation in the text here, I found, in the contrast for movieland's technicolor amplifying, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald singing "The Indian Love Call" in a movie of forgotten title float inescapably into mind. There is Nelson decked out in neatly-belted and spotless Canadian Mountie attire and Jeannette all fluttery in flowery gown. "When I'm calling you-ooey-oo, ooey-oo, do you love me too, ooey-oo, ooey-oo?" Nelson belts out mellifluously while Jeanette swoons. It is a horrible memory, but impossible to shake off. "This means I offer my love to you, to be your own," he croons. "If you refuse me, I will be blue and waiting all alone ... " With relief we turn to one of Darwin's most interesting short papers, The Biographical Sketch of an Infant--in this case his first child William, otherwise known at the time as Doddy. This paper is frequently cited as evidence of Darwin's great natural aptitude for psychology. What I personally find of most interest is how it demonstrates both the precision of his uncanny powers of observation and capacity for capturing what he had observed in words. The paper clearly anticipates the child psychology, developmental psychology, and cognitive psychology of Jean Piaget 60 to 70 years later in the 20th century. Here is Darwin observing an early awakening of love in young William--who grew up to be, in contrast to what one might expect, a prosperous banker. "It may be presumed that infants feel pleasure whilst sucking, and the expression of their swimming eyes seems to show that this is the case. This infant smiled when 45 days, a second infant when 46 days old ..." This was Annie, later to die in the tragedy Charles and Emma mourned for the rest of their lives. 105
David Loye "... and these were true smiles, indicative of pleasure, for their eyes brightened and eyelids slightly closed. The smiles arose chiefly when looking at their mother, and were therefore probably of mental origin. But this infant often smiled then, and for some time afterwards, from some inward pleasurable feeling, for nothing was happening which could have in any way excited or amused him. "When 110 days old he was exceedingly amused by a pinafore being thrown over his face and then suddenly withdrawn; and so he was when I suddenly uncovered my own face and approached his. He then uttered a little noise which was an incipient laugh. Here surprise was the chief cause of the amusement, as is the case to a large extent with the wit of grown-up persons." We then catch a glimpse of love's ways and wiles for Darwin as the father who later appears in a rare photo of the young Darwin holding a pudgy and pinafored little William in his lap. "I believe that for three or four weeks before the time when he was amused by a face being suddenly uncovered, he received a little pinch on his nose and cheeks as a good joke. I was at first surprised at humour being appreciated by an infant only a little above three months old, but we should remember how very early puppies and kittens begin to play." 106
FOURTEEN SOME THEORETICAL VICISSITUDES OF LOVE Throughout the 20th century scientists wrangled over the question of how much of the adventure we call evolution involved natural selection, how much sexual selection, whether there was any such thing as sexual selection, and whether all of it was simply natural selection. On thing generally lost in the tangle was why Darwin focused on sexual selection in the first place. It was to assert that the track of the "love theory" we're pursuing, although interacting with the "romp `em, stomp `em" track of natural selection, was also separate from it. In other words, Darwin saw that much more than natural selection was at work in evolution and it was frightfully important to somehow understand and get this across. For a bit of basic grounding, without having to endure the scholarly ins and outs, is a quick guide to what for Darwin seems to be the difference between natural selection and sexual selection. For the time being, let's think of evolution, as has long been popular, as a giant factory. Within such a factory, then, natural selection is the machinery that grinds, stamps, and rolls onto the assembly line the different "species" of the old time Buggy (for operation with horse as horse and buggy) or the modern Automobile. Sexual selection is then one of the evolutionary machines for shaping and spray painting the "species" of automobile into an evolutionary enormous yellow Cadillac replete with fins or a small red Volkswagen "bug." Here then, in his own words, is a guide to the tools and ways of the "body shop" of sexual selection. 107
David Loye "It is certain that amongst almost all animals there is a struggle between the males for the possession of the female," he tells us. This struggle, he asserts, accounts for the development of "weapons of offence and the means of defense--of the males for fighting with and driving away their rivals--their courage and pugnacity--their various ornaments--their contrivances for producing vocal or instrumental music--and their glands for emitting odours, most of these latter structures serving only to allure or excite the female." "It is clear that these characters are the result of sexual and not of ordinary selection," he notes, "since unarmed, unornamented, or unattractive males would succeed equally well in the battle for life and in leaving a numerous progeny, but for the presence of better endowed males." And so there we have the traditional Darwinian rationale for differences between the male and the female--which also happens to fits in neatly with the idea of male dominance as being decreed by nature. It is also a rationale for devastation of the planet as being, whether decreed by science or the Bible, only the natural outcome of man's "sacred" conquest of nature. The Other Side of the Coin But there is more to it than at first might appear. For the way Darwin loaded The Descent of Man with the subject of sex and sexual selection is one of the reasons why everything else in the book--for example, three chapters on what he called "the moral sense"--was almost wholly ignored by evolution theorists throughout the 20th century. For scholar and lay man or lay woman alike, if one saw the word "moral" on one page and the word "sex" on the next page it was no contest--on they skipped to the latter. 108
Dawin in Love But now here is one of the endless ironies that riddles the story of what 20th century science did to Darwin. For not only did the scholars skip the moral parts but, until very late in the century, as far as evolution theory was concerned most of them also skipped the sex parts. Why was this? One must conclude it was because Darwin went on to offer another observation that just didn't sit well with male science--and science until well into our time was, of course, just that. Males heading most of the science departments. Male names attached to most of the books. Males referencing males and males on grants committees awarding grants to males. But after pondering sexual selection longer and more deeply than practically anyone else before or after him, what Darwin concluded was this. Contrary to the impression we've been given that he said natural selection was the be-all and end-all principle for evolution, he not only said that once you reached a certain level of evolution in certain regards sexual selection was of equal if not more importance. He also brought up the "love track" part of the story--which, while the abiding stock in trade for poets and playwrights, was automatically booted out of the picture for science. The female, "though comparatively passive," as we've seen, Darwin notes, "generally exerts some choice and accepts one male in preference to others. Or she may accept, as appearances would sometimes lead us to believe, not the male which is the most attractive to her, but the one which is the least distasteful." In other words, he was saying that when you switched over from looking at evolution as exclusively a matter of natural selection to looking at sexual selection, it was not the male but the female who was the deciding factor in the evolution of species. He was saying that what was going on was not so much the rough and ready conquest of the female by quasi- or outright rape, which tends to be the unreconstructed male perspective. It was much more a matter of many antics by males to try to win the love--or at least the 109
David Loye eye and a readiness for action--of the female. And it was then usually she who decided who she would mate with. "The exertion of some choice on the part of the female seems a law almost as general as the eagerness of the male," he concludes. No matter what they might say about it on the surface, you can imagine how popular this was at the preconscious or unconscious level in a science overwhelmingly populated by males. You can also see why during the 20th century the over-riding and "impartial" brutality of natural selection--which not only played to the stereotypical strengths for the male and the enticing imagery of conquest, but into which one might also collapse this troublesome idea of sexual selection--became the principle to be favored to the exclusion of everything else. Why don't the females generally develop horns, or spurs, or other built-in weapons, Darwin wonders. The image of those skeletons with locked horns comes to mind as he casually notes something that takes on an ever deeper meaning as our own species' annual investment in everything from the Saturday Night "killer" special to nuclear overkill goes from billions to trillions. "With female deer the development during each recurrent season of great branching horns, and with female elephants the development of immense tusks," he ventures, "would be a great waste of vital power." Super Neos Pro and Con By now the hasty scanner may conclude I am probably a cardcarrying Super Neo (i.e., sociobiologist ,or devotee of the selfasserted, proclaimed, and enacted field of Evolutionary Psychology). For am I not equating what Darwin found among the so-called lower animals with everything that goes on between ourselves? This was stock in trade for the Super Neos. For everything we do at the human level they sought to find the roots somewhere back on down the ladder in evolution. 110
Dawin in Love As we've seen, there's much support to be found for such an approach. But there were big problems with the Super Neos, which still persist. One was their claim to be Darwinians, yet captivated by their own notion of what Darwinian meant they only scanned parts of a few books to find in him whatever scraps supported their own truncated and at times frankly screwy notions and ignored the rest. As we've seen, they claimed that by the nature of our animal heritage we humans are primarily if not indeed exclusively driven by selfishness--"selfish genes" was the signature term. In case after case at the animal level, however, we've seen that what Darwin and his scores of informants actually observed wholly contradicts this fundamental scientific error. Yes, we are selfishly motivated, but we are also non-selfishly motivated. To Darwin the first kind of motivation was "a base principle" and the reason for "low morality among savages." But the second kind of motivation was not only "noble" but a primary thrust for evolution at both the prehuman and the human level! Did he for some reason reappear among us, Darwin would, I think, have been so sickened to find what the 20th century did to him that he would have had to excuse himself and go upstairs to grasp the bedstead and gasp and groan and be very, very ill. This is not the book to get entangled in the technicalities of what the Super Neos and other 20th century Darwinians did to Darwin. That I do in other books. All I can do here is to pass on an analogy that comes to mind. There is this house filled with scientists, let us say. Some are living in the basement, mainly sociobiologists or evolutionary psychologists. Some live on the first floor, systems scientists, let us say. Still others, perhaps humanistic psychologists and therapists, live on the second floor. Now the basement dwellers are particularly proud of a great batch of sauerkraut they are brewing down there. Whenever they come upstairs, they happily proclaim, "All is sauerkraut, all is sauerkraut!" 111
David Loye On the first floor the scientists dwelling there tell them, "But here we also have oranges." "No, no," the others say. "All is sauerkraut." And on the second floor the scientists dwelling there tell them, "But here we also have bananas." "No, no. All is sauerkraut!" "But you yourself are also eating oranges and bananas, and you are feeding your children oranges and bananas, and they are feeding their children oranges and bananas." "No, no," the basement dwellers say--and this with ever greater force, for somehow they have managed to take over much of American education and the textbook industry along with much of the rest of the American publishing industry, both trade and academic. "All, all is sauerkraut!" Would that it had been only sauerkraut! But instead were the doctrines, hardened into dogma blessed by science, used among other things to support the idea that cutthroat business practices are only "natural" to our species, that the "do-gooder" is to be mocked, and that everybody is potentially our enemy. Therefore we must pour billions desperately needed elsewhere at home and across the earth into missile systems to overwhelm or repel them. Sex in Evolution Ours, it could be said, is a frenetic age that, like a teenager, dotes on the prurient aspects of sex as a relief from all the grim pressure on our species to grow up. This makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that even though Darwin (as well as his sober scientific readership) might have secretly enjoyed the vicarious dalliance that his window on the love life of the barnacle offered, his was basically a serious pursuit with enormously important consequences. We know today, for example, that his life among the barnacles helped ground his theory of evolution in both a familiar and an unfamiliar way. 112
Dawin in Love The traditional reading is that his ten years with the barnacles provided an intimate testing ground for ideas that he later developed into his theories of both natural selection and sexual selection. This labor, however, it's vital to note, also provided reinforcement for the grounding for the lost second half that radically changes the 20th century picture of his theory of evolution. For to Darwin not only love in all its higher wonders, but also moral sensitivity derived from the emergence of two sexes in evolution out of a prior phase of selfimpregnation, or splitting apart into a clone of oneself. [EN DLT] This we know today from those private notebooks generally unpublished for 132 years. Fresh home from the voyage of the Beagle, written at the height of his early creativity, in those notebooks canbe seen Darwin's sketch of the climb up the ladder point for point confirmed by modern brain research and paleontology. We can see how it was all put together in precisely the sequence for 28-year-old Darwin's intuition. How in the evolution of life on this planet, all organisms at first reproduced in comparative isolation from one another by various ways of splitting themselves in two, or cloning themselves, one might say. How with the first emergence of sex as we know it--as the mating of two separately endowed organisms--came the pivotal advance in technique and evolutionary potential that set the stage for practically all of the living world, and later of love, we know today. Here was this new ability on earth to connect in a new way with another being like oneself, but also crucially different from oneself in possessing the mate for one's own sex organs. So here for the first time there had entered into the evolutionary stream this drive of a new hunger for connecting with something beyond oneself. This Darwin had seen quite clearly. In what we know today would have been over three billion years ago, there had entered this transformative need within the ancient creatures of that time, all much smaller than even the smallest of 113
David Loye barnacles today, to take into account for the first time this new thing on earth--the more intimate nature and needs of another being. There had entered into evolution the precursor of that very special act we not only call sex today. Even more personally meaningful, there had arrived on this planet what we know today as the very special emotion of caring for another. Thereafter, scaling upward from that tiny beginning so far back in time from us, later emerged what became the all-embracing flow of libido for Freud, or the transformative explosion of the orgasm for ex-Freudians Otto Rank and Wilhelm Reich. There had entered for us the triumph of love we will turn to next--and for Darwin the vital connection he set down in his early notebooks and then kept secret throughout his life. We'll take this further in Part III, particularly in ending this book. 114
Part III: The Triumph of Love
FIFTEEN THE BOND OF LOVE And so we've explored the surprising range for the small parables and playlets of love tucked away in the Darwin we never knew. Now we come to the place for summing up what they seem to be trying to tell us. As the title for Part III indicates, though they tell us many other things, in contrast to all the cynicism, disillusion, and mockery of the idealist that became fashionable in both science and society, above all they celebrate the triumph of love. Take, for openers, the bond of love. Over the years it's been called many things. Darwin called it sociability and originally combined the word mutual with other words--such as love and affection, as in mutual love and mutual affection--to build a wide network of connotations for what we would call mutuality. People today at all acquainted with important books in this area assume it was the noble and fascinating ex-Prince Peter Kropotkin who coined the phrase "mutual aid." But it was Darwin who first used it. Kropotkin was one of only a tiny handful I could find in the whole span of the 20th century who seemed to have read or understood the higher thrust for Darwin. From Darwin's Descent of Man he picked the title for his own famous book Mutual Aid. Another set of words for this bond was used by Darwin to link together the known and the almost wholly unknown parts of his theory of evolution. There is what he called the social instinct at the foundation level for biology. This thrust for connecting with and to one another is then transformed into its higher level expression as the 116
Dawin in Love virtue of sympathy at the superstructure level of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. But how could this stuff about a "bond of love" be true? Is this really Darwin? It certainly isn't the Darwin we have known. Didn't 20th century science, and every teacher we ever had who strayed upon the subject, repeatedly assure us that Darwin was solely the master builder of that brutal but magnificent machine of evolution composed of natural selection, variability, survival of the fittest, blind chance, and the exalted drive of selfishness? Weren't we told that this accounts for everything that happens in our lives? So what planet did this alien come from? What is this weak-kneed, lily-livered, yellow-bellied stuff about a "bond of love"? All I can say is statistics don't lie--or at least statistics as simple as those I used to produce the following score card for the Darwinian components for the bond of love. Again, with a computerized version of The Descent of Man, what I did can be done by any computer savvy ten-year-old pointed in the right direction. You just set and press the Find button and then tally up the word counts. Here's the score for The Descent of Man alone, going no farther. Sociability, only two entries. But the low count is because this is only Darwin's alternative word meaning social instinct. For mutual as the root word for the word combinations indicated above there are 25 entries. For social instincts, 44. For sympathy, 62. This of course is additional to the 95 times for love and 92 times for moral we mentioned earlier. Just out of curiosity I also fed the word mind to the computer. It seemed to me it would also be good to see how much statistical support I could find for what had become increasingly obvious to me--that in Descent Darwin was exploring a psychology for the 21st century. 131 times! 117
David Loye The Universal Embrace Freud called the bond of love libido. Sociology pioneer Durkheim called it solidarity. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict called it synergy. For the writer and pioneering systems scientist Arthur Koestler, it was the holarchic force of integration, in contrast to the hierarchic thrust of self-assertion. For cultural evolution theorist Riane Eisler, it's the universal embrace of linking for the Chalice or partnership model or way of life, in contrast to the ranking of ourselves, one over another, man over woman, white over black, nation over nation, for the Blade or dominator model or way of life. In my own work, it's the conflict of the Glacier and the Flame. Here are some of Darwin's Sandwalk thoughts about what he observed at work in species prior to ourselves and in ourselves. "Animals of many kinds are social. We find even distinct species living together. For example, some American monkeys, and united flocks of rooks, jackdaws, and starlings. Man shews the same feeling in his strong love for the dog, which the dog returns with interest. Every one must have noticed how miserable horses, dogs, and sheep are when separated from their companions, and what strong mutual affection the two former kinds, at least, shew on their reunion." "It is curious to speculate on the feelings of a dog, who will rest peacefully for hours in a room with his master or any of the family, without the least notice being taken of him. But if left for a short time by himself, he barks or howls dismally." "We will confine our attention to the higher social animals and pass over insects, although some of these are social, and aid one another in many important ways." This is brought out in the books of Edward O. Wilson, the contentious founder of sociobiology. Unusual for a scientist in his noble resonation to the prime ingredient for the Darwinian second half--the moral sense for Darwin, or moral sensitivity as we think of 118
Dawin in Love it today-- unfortunately Wilson was unable to wrestle his way out of the straight jacket of selfishness above all for first half Darwinism. At this point, Darwin kicks away another flint from the Sandwalk path perhaps. "The most common mutual service in the higher animals is to warn one another of danger by means of the united senses of all. Every sportsman knows, as Dr. Jaeger remarks, how difficult it is to approach animals in a herd or troop. Wild horses and cattle do not, I believe, make any danger-signal; but the attitude of any one of them who first discovers an enemy, warns the others. Rabbits stamp loudly on the ground with their hind-feet as a signal. Sheep and chamois do the same with their forefeet, uttering likewise a whistle. The leader of a troop of monkeys acts as the sentinel, and utters cries expressive both of danger and of safety. Many birds, and some mammals, post sentinels, which in the case of seals are said generally to be the females." Letters from around the World And so it goes, on and on: the more he thinks about the bond of love, the more books he reads, and the more letters he receives bearing on it from his correspondents. They were writing in from all over the world to provide observations or anecdotes. Some just wrote in. Others were responding to his queries. Today the research scientist works with grants from foundations. Darwin--whose budget for postage alone must have been staggering--did it all out of his own pocket. These were, however, very deep pockets when you add it all up--both the Wedgewood and Darwin inheritances, his considerable book income from a worldwide involvement of British and foreign publishers, and all the money that kept rolling in because of his uncanny skill as an investor. "Social animals perform many little services for each other," he observes. Very likely, before he wrote it out, this was an observation 119
David Loye he might have made to son Francis, his cherished research assistant, or to visiting scientific cronies, as they walked along the Sandwalk beneath the murmuring of the beeches to a touch of breeze, or the hum of bees. "Horses nibble, and cows lick each other on any spot that itches. Monkeys search each other for external parasites. Brehm states that after a troop of the Cercopithecus griseoviridis has rushed through a thorny brake, each monkey stretches itself on a branch, and another monkey sitting by, `conscientiously' examines its fur, and extracts every thorn or burr." So far, so good. But how, when, and why does the bond of love dissolve? What are its limits? And what restores it? "It is certain that associated animals have a feeling of love for each other, which is not felt by non-social adult animals." He kicks another flint aside. He walks a bit, pauses to touch a flower, or shades his eyes peering toward the sky at a distant bird--what is it, no not that, but maybe ... More observations come to mind, that evening to be written down. "How far in most cases they actually sympathise in the pains and pleasures of others, is more doubtful, especially with respect to pleasures. Mr. Buxton, however, who had excellent means of observation, states that his macaws, which lived free in Norfolk, took `an extravagant interest' in a pair with a nest; and whenever the female left it, she was surrounded by a troop `screaming horrible acclamations in her honour.'" Next day, perhaps, he returns on the walks and in his writing to further pursue this situation. "It is often difficult to judge whether animals have any feeling for the sufferings of others of their kind. Who can say what cows feel, when they surround and stare intently on a dying or dead companion. Apparently, as Houzeau remarks, they feel no pity. That animals sometimes are far from feeling any sympathy is too certain, for they 120
Dawin in Love will expel a wounded animal from the herd, or gore or worry it to death." He seems at times rather callous about it all, and this is true of both Darwin the scientist and Darwin the man of his time. But again and again the heart and mind that linked him to the ages and to the future cannot be contained. Out of him there comes the burst of feeling that immediately follows the above line. "This is almost the blackest fact in natural history, unless, indeed, the explanation which has been suggested is true, that their instinct or reason leads them to expel an injured companion, lest beasts of prey, including man, should be tempted to follow the troop. In this case their conduct is not much worse than that of the North American Indians, who leave their feeble comrades to perish on the plains; or the Fijians, who, when their parents get old, or fall ill, bury them alive." "Many animals, however, certainly sympathise with each other's distress or danger. This is the case even with birds." A good example has come to his attention in a paper on the American beaver by the matriarchy theorist, American politician, real estate developer, and pioneering anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan. Morgan's frequent pen pal seems to have been the Captain Stansbury we hear of from Darwin, where Darwin's cherished informant is the ubiquitous Mr.Jenner Weir. "Capt.Stansbury found on a salt lake in Utah an old and completely blind pelican, which was very fat, and must have been well fed for a long time by his companions." The point here being they did not abandon him, as the callous theory would dictate. "Capt.Stansbury also gives an interesting account of the manner in which a very young pelican, carried away by a strong stream, was guided and encouraged in its attempts to reach the shore by half a dozen old birds. Mr. Blyth, as he informs me, saw Indian crows feeding two or three of their companions which were blind; and I have heard of an analogous case with the domestic cock." 121
David Loye "We may, if we choose, call these actions instinctive; but such cases are much too rare for the development of any special instinct," he observes--here again beginning to contradict what his successors were to make of him. "As Mr. Bain states, `effective aid to a sufferer springs from sympathy proper:'" Not selfishness, we would note. Not selfish genes, nor kinship selection, nor reciprocal altruism. As earlier noted, "I have myself seen a dog, who never passed a cat who lay sick in a basket, and was a great friend of his, without giving her a few licks with his tongue, the surest sign of kind feeling in a dog." As so often happens, we are back to the dog. Perhaps it was Polly, perhaps it was Bob beside him on the walk, with Darwin debating whether to pretend he might be going to the hothouse to test Bob's "hothouse face." Dogs, he notes, "have long been accepted as the very type of fidelity and obedience. But the elephant is likewise very faithful to his driver or keeper, and probably considers him as the leader of the herd. Dr. Hooker informs me that an elephant, which he was riding in India, became so deeply bogged that he remained stuck fast until the next day, when he was extricated by men with ropes. Under such circumstances elephants will seize with their trunks any object, dead or alive, to place under their knees, to prevent their sinking deeper in the mud; and the driver was dreadfully afraid lest the animal should have seized Dr. Hooker and crushed him to death. But the driver himself, as Dr. Hooker was assured, ran no risk. This forbearance under an emergency so dreadful for a heavy animal, is a wonderful proof of noble fidelity." 122
SIXTEEN DARWIN ON WOMEN "This may all be very well," one can hear a skeptical voice. "But how can you reconcile all these charming anecdotes about the `bond of love' with the fact that Darwin himself shattered that so-called bond of love in the very worst way. He may have been a lovely man to his own wife and children, but what he did to the women of the world, with all his influence, was a social crime. This is the man who said women are intellectually and in every other important way inferior to men. Or aren't you aware of this?" Oh yes I am aware of this. I have struggled for twenty years with the problem of how we may rescue from the trash bin of history a handful of the pivotally great but sexist male scientific thinkers of the 19th and well into the 20th century--whose ignored or buried wisdom, ironically on the subject of moral development and moral evolution, is critically needed today. The conclusion I have reached is that while it is important their sexism be exposed, it is also important to keep in mind one pivotal and enduring fact. Until well into the 20th century and even now continuing, with few exceptions, sexism to the male of the species was not only considered a basic requirement for being male. Through the social indoctrination of thousands of years it was also expected by the majority of women. Given this fact, we would be foolish beyond expression if--because of what has for so long been no more than routine expression for half the species--we were to reject and no longer pay attention to or teach about those who otherwise most greatly advanced the causes of humanity. 123
David Loye We make much of the fact today, for example, that we should bend over backwards to be respectful to the crippled, and otherwise handicapped, who are forced to move about in wheel chairs. Are not the great men, who otherwise were of the highest ideals and character and among the greatest contributors to humanity, entitled to the same consideration--for almost all were similarly bent and crippled and handicapped in mind by sexism. What is generally unknown is that in practically every one of these cases that I investigated over years--Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget among them--one finds, as with Darwin, a conflict within them of crucial importance for us today to understand. To a man they were psychologically crushed between two mighty forces. Pressing from one side was the require-ment for the male of the armoring of the hard external self or persona in order to intellectually or socially survive. Pressing from the other was the crying out from within themselves of a suppressed feminine side, which recognizes a kinship, and perceives the injustice, to women, and then is over-ridden by the macho rules of the club. Darwin and the Sin of Sins It is true that in Descent Darwin said that "Man is more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman, and has a more inventive genius." He also said, "The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman--whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands." He further said, "If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music, history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists 124
Dawin in Love would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on 'Hereditary Genius,' that if men are capable of a decided pre-eminence over women in many subjects, the average of mental power in man must be above that of woman." To further guarantee that the late 20th century sea change in the relation of the sexes would make of him the villain of villains in this regard, he even added further fuel to the fire in a letter to an American feminist, Caroline Kennard, who wrote him asking for clarification on what she found to be these very troubling passages in his work. "The quotation to which you refer is a very important one," he wrote to her. "I have it briefly in my `Descent of Man'. I certainly think that women, though generally superior to men in moral qualities, are inferior intellectually; and this seems to me to be a grant from the laws of inheritance (if I understand the laws rightly) in their becoming the intellectual equals of men." Well, what more do we need to rest the case for the prosecution? Case for the Defense What few people have done is to go beyond the above snappy quote from Darwin's letter to Caroline Kinnard, which is all anyone normally sees in books. If we return to the original letter and continue to read on from this point, here is what we find. "On the other hand," Darwin wrote in continuing, "there is some reason to believe that aboriginally (and in the present day in the case of savages) men and women were equal in this respect, and this would greatly favour their recovering this equality." An earlier time of more equality? Well into the 20th century this knowledge was regularly discounted and shoved out of consciousness for many of the same reasons--and by the much the same scientific and social forces--that managed to divert eyes away from Darwin's lost theory. Yet today we can recognize the validity of Darwin's 125
David Loye observation of an earlier time of more equality between the sexes because it is heavily documented in many sources. Once again, the most comprehensive work in this regard is that of cultural evolution theorist Riane Eisler. Without the enormous body of modern studies that Eisler draws on in The Chalice and the Blade and other works, it was also feminist scholar Matilda Gage's insight in the late 19th century. It was also the conclusion--similarly shoved out of history and most scholarly references--of a long line of male scholars, ranging from Belgian [?] jurist Bachoven, American anthropologist [] Morgan, and Marx and Engels, to social psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and others in our time. But even more interesting is Darwin's completion of this sentence in his letter to Caroline Kinnard: "and this would greatly favour their recovering this equality." For this is the point that, to my knowledge, only Eisler and Engels among those who have achieved any considerable readership ever stressed. Whatever one may say or believe in keeping with the expectancies of one's own sex, and class, and time, it is a point that can only come out of a transcendent honesty of mind recognizing a fundamental equality of women and men, which over time must rebalance and hopefully right the wrongs of this earth. "Man is more powerful in body and mind than woman, and in the savage state he keeps her in a far more abject state of bondage than does the male of any other animal; therefore it is not surprising that he should have gained the power of selection," Darwin observes of what he repeatedly declared was among the worst of wrongs on this earth. Recorded in The Voyage of the Beagle, in Descent, and in the memories of others who knew him, the three things that roused his deepest feelings and provoked his greatest anger against the world as it is were cruel treatment of animals, the abomination to him of slavery, and the cruel and uncaring mistreatment of women by men. 126
Dawin in Love This last concern, as was also true of Marx and Engels, became one of the main measures by which Darwin gauged whether one might detect progress and a direction for evolution. The baseline for him was the horrible treatment of women among many savages. In the rise of civilization--wholly contrary to the bloody-beat-your-way-to-the-top view long attributed to him--he felt there could be seen the progressive gentling of men, the progressively better treatment of women, and the increase in the moral sensitivity that he saw as not only inherently greater among women than men but also central to the evolution of our species. This was among the main reasons for his great hope for our species, and for his faith in a progressively better future for us. To him it was because of how far we had come in bootstrapping our way up from the past--in his own words the fact of our "having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed" here--that gave him "hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future." 127
SEVENTEEN THE LOVE OF GOODNESS And so we come to Darwin's third great passion. Culminating the love of the young voyager and the older home body explored in Part I, his personal story, and in Part II, the story of the wider love that was his for all of nature, we come now to what his theory was ultimately driven by and driving toward: his love of the highest and best in us and his vision of the human future. The love of goodness, what is it? What do we mean by it? Why not come right out and say it? Aren't we talking about--one hesitates to admit it, dropping the voice a bit and covering the mouth as we mutter the word--morality. Alas, just as love became the dreaded L-word for much of its science, so morality became the dreaded M-word for possibly a majority of the educated people of the 20th century. If this seems stretching things a bit, I invite you to join me in a little experiment in collaborative research. In your own home, how many times while you were growing up or later on did you ever hear the word "moral" used? Or in the homes of your friends? How many times out at a party or any other social occasions did you hear the word used? The talk might stray to the fight for civil rights, the women's or Peace Movements, the environment, corruption in government. The talk might be of "consciousness raising" or "boycotting." But how many times did you ever hear the word "moral" used to identify a unifying element common to these and all other good causes, in the sense of moral arousal and moral action? 128
Dawin in Love Wasn't the case more likely that if anyone should use the word moral, or morality, they might receive a brief surreptitious stare, but no one picked up on it? And gradually might there not be a subtle movement away from them, as though they had committed an embarrassing social transgression akin to sneezing in your soup. For by and large, at least in the crowd I knew, the dreaded M-word was considered to be what was only spouted by the right wing nuts on radio and television. Yet for Darwin, groping to deal with this idea as a young man and then as an old man, it was actually the central point to and main driver for human evolution. The count that opened this book was 95 for use of the word love in Descent. Now let's look at what he found so closely associated with love--the count of 92 for the word moral. The Lost Explorers of Goodness Because there is so much confusion in this area of such ambivalent concern, we need a bit of background to what Darwin has to say. Because there is so much trouble with the word morality, I will use "goodness" here as a less uncomfortable word for getting at the same thing. Here are some thumbnail sketches of a few of those who were Darwin's companions in the lost scientific exploration of goodness. By this I mean they are not lost as names, for we recognize most of them by name. We may also have a reasonably good idea of what is supposed to be their most important contribution. In the case of Freud, for example--who, like Darwin, seemed to find sex everywhere--most of us now understand how we are motivated by the unconscious as well as conscious mind. But what has almost wholly been lost to us is what most deeply concerned Freud and the others, accounting for a significant part of their work--namely, what is goodness? 129
David Loye Where does it come from? What nurtures and builds it within the child? What blunts, diminishes, and cuts it off? What potentially leads--as with Hitler--to its wholesale reversal in the most horrible of acts and crimes? The great scientific explorers of goodness were to a man--and in this case also some women--driven by the love of goodness that to Darwin was pivotally important among the dimensions of love to which he resonated, and sought to understand and express. Here's the picture I paint in The River and the Star: The Lost Story of the Great Explorers of the Better World. The story begins with the 18th century scientist and philosopher Immanuel Kant. Dying only five years before Darwin was born, on the same day of the year, February 12, it is Kant to whom Darwin refers as his "guardian angel" in an early poem and in Descent. To Kant goodness was a matter of what he called "two worlds." One was the practical or "worldly" kind of morality we use to "get by" in the world as it is. The other was the aspirational moral world of higher ideals that drives us to become better and lead better lives. So here, for Darwin, was the morality of Origin and the morality of Descent. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are still seen today more as devils than as saints. But what they introduced onto the stage of the modern world was an exceptionally important next step up for the scientific understanding of morality. They got at it by shocking the intellects of their time with the flat statement that moral philosophy was bosh. All this talk about morality is nothing but a sham, they said, if it is used to maintain in place a worldwide situation of incredible misery and the exploitation by the rich of the poor. To them the "two worlds" were of a disgusting and hypocritical morality used to cement in place social and economic injustice, as opposed to the noble morality of action to change this situation. Again, this is in Darwin. 130
Dawin in Love Emile Durkheim, destined to become a major founder of the field of sociology, was a young Frenchman with a lot on his mind in 1882, the year that Darwin died. After a century of revolution and counterrevolution, in the devastating wake of France's defeat by Germany in the war of 1870, he saw the other side to what drove Marx and Engels. He saw the need for a morality to restore sense and decency in the midst of chaos. The need for the Marxian morality of liberation remained. But a powerful case could now be made for a morality for conserving the best of what already existed, which had taken our species thousands of years to reach. Again in Darwin. Sigmund Freud, whose psychology Darwin anticipates in several ways, began to make an impact on the world about two decades after Darwin's death. His contribution was the first scientific understanding of what conscience is, how it is built, and how it operates. Again we have the vision of "two worlds"--one the impact upon us of the punitive and punishing Freudian super ego, the other the aspirational lift of the Freudian ego ideal. Again in Darwin. Jean Piaget, the genial Swiss savant best known today for his child psychology, was a young man looking for snails in the alps when World War I began. For him the horror of this war, which introduced slaughter and devastation on a scale by then inconceivable to civilized humanity, was the central experience of his moral arousal. First since Kant to use the phrase "the two worlds" to express what he saw with increasingly clarity, Piaget was the first to put the difference into modern political terms. To him there was a conservative moral world of coercion and constraint and the top-down "you do this or God and I will punish you" approach. By contrast, there was a liberal moral world of cooperation and a two-way-street in which parent and child and all other role pairings--including man and woman--spoke and dealt with one another as equals. Again in Darwin. 131
David Loye We come to the first woman to figure in a major way in a long line of mainly males in the scientific exploration of goodness. This was the psychologist Carol Gilligan. Rocking the academic world in 1982 with a quiet charge of widespread sexism, for Gilligan the two worlds are those of a male morality concerned with "rights" and a female morality concerned with "responsibilities." She also sees this as a difference in moral orientation that can be captured by the images of a hierarchy for men, concerned with top-down or "pecking order" relationships, and of the web for women, which conveys the idea of the embracing interconnection of us one to another. Next step beyond Darwin. I write also in detail of the major exploration of psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg in The River and the Star. But here the picture is far too complicated to bog down in here. Let's now see where Darwin fits into the picture. Darwin and the Love of Goodness Here's his fairly straightforward statement of how Darwin saw the matter of morality as, all things considered, a rounded whole. "The social animals which stand at the bottom of the scale are guided almost exclusively, and those which stand higher in the scale are largely guided, by special instincts in the aid which they give to the members of the same community. But they are likewise in part," he tells us, "impelled by mutual love and sympathy, assisted apparently by some amount of reason." On the surface, this is not very arresting. The problem is it collapses an immense amount of his observations and much thought into two rather flat sentences. Within the context of his thought as a whole, it represents, however, an expansion beyond the thinking of those whom I've sketched here. For Darwin was the first not only to say but also to massively prove that goodness is something at work in evolution prior to us. 132
Dawin in Love It is not just something handed down to each of us by God from above, as is the view of many religions, he said. Nor is it something that abruptly pops into place with the very late emergence of our species on this planet. It is something emergent way back in time that is built into the nature of what we call nature. Only Kant--with an argument worked out almost entirely in terms of colorless abstractions rather than the rich variety of life itself in all its forms--is as sure of what he is saying as Darwin is on this point. "Although man has no special instincts to tell him how to aid his fellow-men, he still has the impulse, and with his improved intellectual faculties would naturally be much guided in this respect by reason and experience." This is how the rest of the moral explorers I've named also see it. But now Darwin moves to the observation of the working of the "two worlds" that Freud was to develop to its highest point in establishing his psychology of goodness. Darwin sees us as "influenced in the highest degree by the wishes, approbation, and blame of others, as expressed by their gestures and language." This is what 40 years later in history became the Freudian basis for conscience, or our internal regulator for deciding what is right and what is wrong. On one hand is the punitive superego, searing into our unconscious mind for whatever we are blamed or shamed for by our parents and others. On the other hand, built by modeling ourselves after others--as in the case of the enduring influence of an admired parent or the image of Jesus or Gautama--is the lift of the ego-ideal, straddling the unconscious and consciousness to provide the encouraging vision of whatever we are praised for. But what is it at our level that can over-ride our good intentions to shape what we actually do? One answer for Darwin was that our "actions are in a higher degree determined by the expressed wishes and judgment of others." 133
David Loye This can work to the good, as in the case of our joining others to rescue someone from drowning, or to help those in need. But the wishes and judgements of others can also shove us in a bad direction--as in the case of those who join the raging lynch mob, or today may link themselves through email to launch a wide-ranging con game or scam. Another over-riding factor is that we can be influenced "unfortunately very often by our own strong selfish desires." Ah ha, there it is, says the unreconstructed old style Darwinian. It's right there in Darwin after all! For does he not confirm that ultimately we are driven by selfishness? And behind this, may we not assume there lies the implacable drive of those little devils, our selfish genes? Unfortunately for this position, as we've seen, Darwin called selfishness "a base principle" that accounts for "the low morality of savages." And he goes on here to say, as in many other places, that "as love, sympathy and self-command become strengthened by habit, and as the power of reasoning becomes clearer, so that man can value justly the judgments of his fellows, he will feel himself impelled, apart from any transitory pleasure or pain, to certain lines of conduct." And what are these lines of conduct? "He might then declare ... I am the supreme judge of my own conduct, and in the words of Kant, I will not in my own person violate the dignity of humanity." The fully realized human, the goal for our species, is to reach the point where our conscience is sufficiently developed that we can judge for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. It is to reach the point where, when called on, we have the capacity to identify not just with our single self, or with any single group, nation, race, or gender, but where we can resonate to and identify with the whole of humanity. It is to reach the point where we refuse to settle for less than what Darwin calls "the dignity of humanity"--or the standard for human 134
Dawin in Love thought and behavior established by the cumulative experience of our species at its most courageous, and creative, and caring, over thousands of years of living, and loving, and striving. In keeping with the thinking of the others--but putting it within his vision of the thrust of evolution out of the past into the future--Darwin saw the highest state for ourselves, and the direction for even and guided by the higher rather than the lower of the two worlds of morality. "Looking to future generations, there is no cause to fear that our social instincts will grow weaker," he tells us. "We may expect that virtuous habits will grow stronger, the struggle between our higher and our lower impulses will be less severe, and virtue will be triumphant." Looking Ahead His fellow explorers of goodness either hated much of life with a passion, as Marx, for example. Or they viewed it with an immense ambivalence, as in the case of Kant, Durkheim, or Freud. But for life Darwin had this transcendent love. Soaring out of what, to many readers, may seem to be only an ingratiating and amiable travel book with some science thrown in, here is the passage from Voyage of the Beagle that perhaps best conveys his passion for the triumph of goodness in a better world. "If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see. As well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. "Those who look tenderly at the slave owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter. What a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! Picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife 135
and your little children--which nature urges even the slave to call his own--being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one's blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty." 136
EIGHTEEN THE UPWARD SHOVE OF LOVE IN EVOLUTION It hardly seems fair that, here at the end of this upbeat story, we must also consider the matter of a potential scandal in Darwin's past. It would have been hardly more than a gnat in the eye today. But in his own day ... Well, let us see. The story helps provide a launching point for that most difficult of things to easily explain. This is how, out of one and the same man, could come the brutal and unloving thing globally known today as Darwin's one and only theory of evolution, yet also this seemingly wholly contrary vision of the gradual emergence of love and moral sensitivity as we move up the "ladder" of evolution to the level of our species. The story goes like this. In his late teens, during the Fanny Owen years, while visiting the Wedgewood home at Maer, young Darwin became steadily more intrigued with Emma's father's brother-in-law, Sir James Mackintosh. As we saw earlier, the two took up walking and talking together among the beeches and across the wide lawns. Toward the end of his life, in assessing the decisive impacts on his life, Darwin was to say of Mackintosh that he was "the best converser I ever listened to. I heard afterwards with a glow of pride that he had said, `There is something in that young man that interests me.' This must have been chiefly due to his perceiving that I listened with much interest to everything which he said, for I was as ignorant as a pig about his subjects of history, politicks and moral philosophy. To hear of praise from an eminent person, though no doubt apt or certain to excite vanity, is, I think, good for a young man, as it helps to keep him in the right course." 137
David Loye Once the whole story be known, it is a phrase with haunting overtones--that Mackintosh might have helped "keep him in the right course." Sir James was not given to saying things like "There is something about so and so that interests me," much less about any of the ostensibly shallow and frivolous young teen-agers flowing in and out of Maer. And so there formed between the young Charles and the aging Mackintosh what is so often decisive in the lives of many people of high creativity and later great accomplishment: the strong early attachment of a young mind seeking to find itself to an older mind that has already found itself and knows its mission here on earth. As is the way in these relationships--which are the justifying satisfaction for the good teacher--it's also probable that Mackintosh intuited he might be planting a particular seed in the mind of young Charles that could flower after he himself was long gone. Sir James had taken up residence at Maer at a time he was "licking his wounds after failing to get into Channing's Cabinet, and working hard on his History of England." Having scraped his way through medical school at Edinburgh, Mackintosh had switched careers to go successfully into politics and was an expert on economics. On several of Darwin's visits to Maer over more than a year, for many hours they talked about current affairs, history, and Mackintosh's pet passion. This was moral philosophy. While Darwin was away on the voyage of the Beagle Mackintosh wrote the most important book of his career on this subject. Posthumously published in 1836, it was to prove of pivotal importance for Darwin after he returned from the voyage. The Early Notebooks It is fascinating to see how it all fell in place--after being lost to us for so many years because of the ascendency of the more familiar story line. As any open-minded historian or social analyst knows, 138
Dawin in Love from any one point in history many stories move forward in time, but increasingly the story told by the first historian becomes the story told by the second, becomes the story told by the third, by the fourth, and so on. But in fact out of that same spot back there in time, other streams move forward. Some are minor and of little consequence in being lost. But others that disappear are--as in this case--of major portent. On Darwin's return from the voyage, in the years before his marriage, Sir James might be gone--for he had died while Darwin was at sea--but the young budding scientist did not lack for someone to walk and talk with. There was his bright, sardonic older brother Erasmus. There was the woman Erasmus turned to when, under pressure of those fearing the scandal we touched on in Part I, he gave up his fruitless pursuit of Fanny Mackintosh, Hensleigh Wedgewood's wife's. This new amour for Erasmus--we might say "girl friend" today, but not in her presence, were she still around--was one of the most formidable female intellects of the 19th century. Journalist and pioneering economist and sociologist, Harriette Martineau is today a feminist heroine. She and young Charles used to argue--she maintaining selfishness drives us to be good, but Charles convinced of the higher drive of a "moral sense." There were other intellects at the parties in London (including Babbage, today considered the grandfather of the modern computer). There was the mountainous shop talk of all the naturalists, botanists, biologists, geologists, pigeon breeders, taxidermists, and zoo keepers the young Darwin felt compelled to keep up with. On his return from the voyage of the Beagle the problem for Darwin was not in finding someone to talk to, but rather the other way around. How was he to find someone not to talk to in order to deal in quiet with the torrent of ideas rising up from within himself. And so he turned to what many of us have found vital at either the most troubled or the most creative times of our lives. In a series of 139
David Loye notebooks in which he was to record his most private thoughts and doings, Darwin plunged into the dialogue with himself that was to remain unpublished until well into the 20th century. These early notebooks were labeled B, C, D, and E (on transmutation of species), M and N (on man, mind, and materialism), and the Red Notebook, as well as another clump labeled Old and Useless Notes. Though a jumble of at times almost illegible pen scratches, along with lone islands of legible and well-developed thoughts, these notebooks provide a fascinating avenue into his mind at this time. "What is the philosophy of shame and blushing? Does elephant know shame? Dog knows triumph." Shortly before and after marriage to Emma, Darwin also speculates about the nature of love. "What passes in a man's mind, when he says he loves a person ... it is blind feeling, something like sexual feelings--love being an emotion does it regard /is it influenced by/ other emotions?" Most of this is dross of interest only to biographers, but mindful of what the future held certain things stand out. One is his obsession with theories. Indeed, it can be said that if there was lust in Darwin it was for theory. He has a theory for practically everything he encounters. In particular, the more important theories that keep poking into consciousness in the Notebooks are of three kinds. Most basic and amorphous is Darwin's probing for the meaning of sex as a force in nature, which became of endless fascination to him. "What are sexual differences in monkeys?," he writes. "Sexual desire makes saliva to flow. Lascivious women are described as biting; so do stallions always. Smell...and hearing music, to some degree sexual. Blushing" he observes, seems to "drive blood to the surface exposed, face of man, neck, upper bosom in women: like erection." At this early stage, however--with the one striking exception we will come to--he cannot quite pin down the precise 140
Dawin in Love relation of sex to evolution. He just knows it somehow figures importantly. The second major strain to his thinking involves the evolution of our moral sensitivity. In some way he knows this involves love and sympathy, but how he's not sure of at first. He only knows, as in arguing with Harriet Martineau, that he wholeheartedly disagrees with the idea popular in his time, which the 20th century then seized up and ballyhooed as the "Darwinian" gospel of the "selfish gene." To him the idea that only selfishness drives us to do good in the world was, as earlier noted, a "base principle" that failed to fit the most important Level of Evidence. The takeoff points for his thinking here were his walks and talks during the teen years at Maer with Sir James Mackintosh. For the key point for Mackintosh's theory of the moral sense was that it is not based on selfishness. Much to the contrary for Mackintosh, the moral sense is an entity, or capacity, or drive that is innate or inborn within us. Darwin, agreeing, struggled in the early notebooks to find a sequence of development in biological evolution that could put a floor under this idea. Then after his marriage to Emma came the event that seems to have locked his early theory of love and moral sensitivity firmly in place. They were expecting their first child when they returned to Maer for a visit. While there Charles happened upon a copy of the book that Sir James had written while Charles was at sea. So absorbed did he become in Mackintosh's Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy that for a year and a half thereafter--during this exceptionally creative period of his early life, in which most of the directions for the main lines of thought for the rest of his life were laid down--he mulled it over. Among the mountain of papers left at Darwin's death were 14 pages of notes on Mackintosh's book. And up and down the page margins of the copy he read, in his neat and precise yet open hand writing, Darwin's running commentary can still be seen. 141
David Loye As is the way with our fickle minds, Sir James was likely already fading somewhat in Darwin's memory on his return from the voyage of the Beagle. But here at Maer again, where they had walked and talked for so many hours, Darwin's notes clearly reveal that everything said long ago had come vividly to life again. For now, while on one hand his mind was filled with the lives and ways of barnacles, coots, and orangutans, in Mackintosh's Ethical Philosophy he found a voice that spoke eloquently to the urge that had originally impelled him toward religious studies and the ministry at Cambridge and the life of a country parson after leaving medicine. It was indeed, we can see now, a voice that spoke to the core of the pivotal dilemma forming within him that was soon to shape his future, as well as--for this we can now see quite clearly--our own. Sex, Love, and War The third main strain to his thoughts, also fumbling to take shape, can be seen in his groping toward the mechanism that 20 years later was to rock the world in Origin and eventually seize our minds--the lockstep, grim reaper picture of the action of natural selection at work to rid the world of everything that was substandard, unwise, or otherwise unfit. Here his wellknown takeoff point--dutifully noted by countless numbers of scholars throughout the 20th century--was his reading of a book that haunted his time, was rejected by the 20th century as a scary fairy tale, and returns now to again haunt us in the 21st century. This was Parson Thomas Robert Malthus' Essay on Population. Malthus' essay sounds distressingly familiar today. Replete with the statistics that helped establish him as a major economist, Malthus' had projected a leap-frogging geometrical increase in world population that must inevitably outrun only a plodding mathematical increase in food supply. Midway through the 20th century alarm began to escalate about "the population explosion." City dwellers 142
Dawin in Love began to lament the increase in traffic that, among other unsettling portents, was turning the skies overhead into dull, glowing clouds that burnt the eyes and seared the lungs. There were predictions by the concerned global agencies that, among similar disasters, the world's super-powered, radar-guided fishing fleets would soon outfish the seas. And despite the desire of advertisers to squelch such distressing sights, onto the television screen also seeped recurring scenes of the horror of great masses of hollow-eyed, walking skeletons in Africa and elsewhere. What lies ahead for us, according to Malthus, is that "premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race." If we are lucky, war and disease may delay the inevitable, "but should they fail in this war of extermination ... gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow, levels the population with the food of the world." It was a picture of our future that seemed more fiction than fact in Darwin's time. After all, vast regions of this earth were then still lightly populated or without a touch of civilization mile after mile. The Brazilian rain forests he visited on the voyage of the Beagle were still intact--the clear-cutting, dynamiting, burning, and other destruction to the "lungs of the planet" that lay ahead then inconceivable. When the Beagle docked in New Zealand and Australia, who could have guessed that within only 150 years, on disembarking, they might be forced to wear protective clothing to screen out the cancerous levels of radiation that came pouring in through a hole in the ozone layer. But at that time Darwin could read Malthus for "amusement," as he put it. Being prepared "to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed." 143
David Loye Combining Malthus' dark vision with his observations of how pigeon breeders used "artificial selection" to mate birds to shape new varieties, with increasing clarity Darwin began to see everywhere at work what he decided to call "natural selection." In Malthus' vision, our species' sexual drive was swiftly flooding the surface of the planet with hordes of people who would eventually be cut down by famine. Were this true, a logical conclusion was that eventually only those of us of sufficient toughness, intelligence and wealth to delay the inevitable could, for a time, survive. Now what Darwin saw was the counterpart for this grim scenario in the natural world. As he knew from observations of everything from barnacles to the finches of the Galapagos Islands, the enormous fecundity of nature was also generating huge numbers of organisms. Thereafter, in the midst of wholesale slaughter by one means or another, only the most fit would survive. By this means, then, new species must be generated. And thus the question of the origin of species and the working of evolution was apparently solved! The Love Theory So goes the story we have been told for over 100 years. Though there are those who insist this part of Darwin's vision isn't true, by and large it seems to be quite accurate--but only up to a certain point. For beyond this well-entrenched and familiar theory lies the other theory --explored in my book Darwin's Lost Theory--also at that time struggling to form itself within Darwin's mind. Beyond evolution by slaughter lay what was buried for over 100 years behind the simple fact that Darwin talks about love 95 times in Descent--and one other fact that reveals so much. For over 100 years, in the umpteen editions and copies of Descent either blessed or edited by supposedly the brightest and best of scientists, as noted earlier, generation after generation only one trivial item showed up in the index for love. 144
Dawin in Love But if there was this other theory, why hadn't we heard about it? We had, but only in a tentative line here and there that was easy to miss, and in a few other places easy to ignore. We hadn't heard of it because practically everybody during the 20th century who came up with anything that pointed in this direction was rather speedily brushed aside or crushed under the juggernaut roll of the paradigm of The Great Survival of the Fittest Machine. But also we hadn't heard of it because Darwin himself lacked the one piece of 20th century research that was to unequivocally confirm the validity of the love theory. For the brain research that was to confirm how uncannily on target his genius was lay still far in the future. And back then, when Darwin returned to develop the "love theory" in Descent, he left out the one thing that might have made it all fall in place for his successors! 145
NINETEEN THE FATEFUL CHOICE AND THE SCANDAL THAT WASN'T And so we come to how Darwin buried the "missing link" through fear of scandal. To understand the scandal that wasn't requires knowing a bit more about these two older men who pointed Darwin's thinking in two seemingly wholly opposed directions, Malthus, the "father" of a theory of evolution driven by selfishness and brutality, and Mackintosh, the "father" of a theory of evolution driven by love and moral sensitivity. Oddly enough, they were great pals. They had been lecturers together at the East India College at Haileybury. In the involved way that is so often a part of this tale, they were also interlinked through a marriage ceremony to the Wedgewoods, hence also, more remotely, to the Darwins. Malthus' daughter Emily was a bridesmaid at the wedding of none other than Fanny, Mackintosh's daughter, to Hensleigh Wedgewood. As we saw earlier, to add further complexity to this interweaving of lives, there were those suspicions that Darwin's brother Erasmus was all too friendly with Fanny Mackintosh after marriage, with fears a scandal might break out and make the press at any time. Fanny seems "quite as much married to him as to Hensleigh," Charles' sister Catherine had written to him far away on the voyage of the Beagle at the time. In any case, here was Malthus, the gentle predictor of ever greater and more destructive wars as starving nations, swollen with huge hungry populations, reeling from the impact of uncontrolled sex, 146
Dawin in Love fought over the last scraps of food on earth. Here was Malthus, providing the inspiration for a theory of evolution that, at the core, however couched in terms of "natural process," would be as bloody and foursquare based on slaughter and warfare as Malthus' most grim projection of what lay ahead for humanity. And here was Mackintosh, whose name today has passed out of history except to the scholar interested in understanding what was going on in Darwin's mind that led to what we have known as the theory of evolution. Here was Mackintosh, whose moral theory had held that we are most fundamentally driven to make love, not war. And here, at a pivotal point in both the history and the evolution of our species, looking for a theory that might somehow work in sex in some fundamental way--still a young man, still seeking in some older scholar support for a very lonely journey in mind--was Darwin, caught between Malthus and Mackintosh. The scholar who has most extensively probed Mackintosh's theory and the Mackintosh-Darwin relation, psychologist and historian of science Robert J. Richards at the University of Chicago, tells us about what came next. "In November 1838, shortly after having read Malthus, Darwin turned to the question with which he opened his first Transmutation Notebook--the function of sex. Echoing that earlier consideration, he suggested in his fourth Transmutation Notebook that sex was required to explain distinct species. But sexual intercrossing required sociality," Richards notes. "Hence the moral sense, derived as Darwin thought from social instincts, might also be explained by its function in solidifying species, in molding a population into a unit. In his fourth notebook, he expressed the matter this way: "`My theory gives great final cause...of sexes ... which as I hope to show is probably the foundation of all that is most beautiful in the moral sentiments of the animated beings.'" 147
David Loye This was written on September 29, 1938. Within days of this entry, in other notebooks (for Darwin would write in several simultaneously) there appear what I have found to be two of the most striking instances in the whole of science of the reduction to a single line of a major theory from A to Z. "May not moral sense arise from our enlarged capacity [for] strong instinctive sexual, parental, & social instincts, giving rise to `do unto others as yourself' [and] `love thy neighbor as thyself.'" This was on September 23, 1838. Then on October 2, 1838, he added this vital expansion to his thought. "Therefore I say grant reason to...any animal with social & sexual instincts / & yet with passion / he must have conscience." What has Darwin said--as well as done? He has said that the progression for evolution along "the love theory" track is from a basic grounding in the sexual instincts--as he observed, as noted in chapterseven, at the barnacle and lower levels. Next comes the evolutionary emergence of parental instincts, which we've seen at work again and again throughout the chapters of this book. Next come the social instincts, which we have seen in this book emerging in a vast range of species. And finally in the process of evolutionary emergence this is topped off with the development of a capacity for emotion--or passion, as Darwin calls it in the stories of the emergence of this drive in everything from the mother monkey who washed the faces of her young in a stream to the embracing of the joyful chimpanzees. 148
Dawin in Love Then finally comes the development of a capacity for reason, which he has pursued in this book chiefly in the case of apes, monkeys, and ourselves. He has further said that the end product here--or goal for this process, to use an idea that 20th century science tried its damndest to rid us of--is our species' highest capacity for relating to one another. He has further said that this highest capacity for our species is the ability--or goal again, if you will--to love one another and to treat one another according to what we know now to be a universal Golden Rule. This might seem to be no more than another arm chair leap of speculative philosophy. One piece of research, however, establishes the love theory beyond question, I believe. This is the precise, stepby-step corroboration for Darwin's original vision that, wholly independently, emerged in the research of one of the 20th century's greatest brain scientists, Paul MacLean, and thereafter in many others. Working with reptiles as well as mammals over a 30 year period, MacLean found exactly the same progression reflected in the evolution of the brains of ourselves and other species. He makes clear beyond question, personally confirming that Darwin, based simply on his power of observation and extraordinary sense of how evolution and organism interact, earlier intuited this progression for the evolution of everything leading to and including us over 100 years ago. It would be tedious to go into the details here that I go into in Darwin's Lost Theory. But MacLean finds a place early in brain development for the emergence of sexual capacity (Darwin's sexual instincts) in ourselves and most earlier species. This is followed by the later emergence for parental feelings (Darwin's parental instincts), which appears in evolution at the reptile level. This is followed by the later emergence for sociability (Darwin's social instincts), which appears at the higher reptile but mainly the mammal level. This is followed by a still later emergence at the higher mammal level for a 149
David Loye capacity for emotion (Darwin's passion). All this then culminates --amazingly, hopefully, and wonderfully--in the frontal brain level I wrote of as follows in my first report on this discovery in a scientific journal: "In this last, `highest' part of the brain to evolve, we find areas critical for the `insight' and the `foresight' which, combining with the closely adjacent limbic system thrust, give rise to our capacity for empathy and for altruism. Here, MacLean notes, we find the ability `to see with feeling' that makes possible `planning for ourselves and others.' "All in all, from a footing in the hypothalamus, then rising through the limbic structures into the cloud-like configuration of the prefrontal cortex of frontal `higher' brain, we find the basis for, as MacLean put it in his first report almost 40 years ago now, `a neural ladder, a visionary ladder, for ascending from the most primitive sexual feeling to the highest level of altruistic behavior.'" The Fateful Choice In all of science I think that for the reduction of wisdom to a single line or two only Einstein's famous formula E = mc2 is comparable to Darwin's compression of the whole of the love theory of evolution into the lines from his early notebooks that I have quoted. But what a difference! And immersed in our feeling for the technological and all manner of gadgets, how hard it is for us to appreciate this difference. Einstein's formula, to his own great horror, we used to build atomic bombs and unleash upon humanity the greatest destructive force that a warring species, or its assorted mad men, could ever hunger for. In the sharpest possible contrast, belief in Darwin's lost theory could help unlock the greatest of all constructive forces--the 150
Dawin in Love explosive power of love that everywhere in our world has been bottled up within our species century after century after century. And so there he was, young Charles Darwin at the turning point, with two theories in mind. Both involved sex, which half a century before Freud, Darwin was convinced had to be built into any adequate theory of evolution. On one hand was the sexually-grounded Malthusian theory of the bloody grazing of Natural Selection upon the hapless creatures of the feed lot of Variability. On the other hand was the moral theory of Mackintosh that provided a ladder to our highest ideals and aspirations--this theory to which he, Darwin, was well underway toward providing the grounding in biology vital for science, including again the basic grounding in sex. Why did he go for the first theory instead of the second? Why did Malthus surge ahead to seize the global mind while Mackintosh faded so far into the background as to almost disappear? The early notebooks show that during his brief burst of youthful insight Darwin was attracted in both directions. Why not pursue the fact they were linked together by the simple fact of development--that for everything from the emergence of new species, to new ideas, to the birth of each of us on this planet, to the telling of a story there is a beginning, a middle, and an end? In other words, why not give the world the larger completed theory of evolution that was in his heart and mind, out of which he was struggling to sort it out and get down in words? Why instead were science and humanity forced to suffer the consequences of a fixation on the brutal and bloody theory all through the 20th century in order to reach a chance for the liberation the theory of love can at last offer the 21st century? Why not simply declare--as later he knew to be true--that the brutal and bloody theory articulated a prevailing tendency for the biological foundation that provided the first half for his theory? Why not say then what at last we can see clearly today--that the love 151
David Loye theory provided the precious second half completing his theory of evolution? And why not then go on to say this precious second half was the branching and the flowering out of the earlier roots for the tree of evolution? Why not say the ascendency of love and moral sensitivity was neither unnatural, nor in any reasonable living situation needed to be forced upon us? Why not come right out with it and more forcefully say it came naturally with the rise of the evolutionary superstructure on this foundation, and that this was the job for social and systems science, and the humanities, and indeed also a sensible and progressive theology to explore? Why he didn't go on to put it all together way back then was, of course, no one thing, as we generally look for. He was a young man, both immensely sure of himself and immensely insecure, wavering back and forth as we all do until we have found our track--and perhaps most important of all, until we have learned that we will not be rejected, or crushed, if we take the wrong step. He was also a young medical school drop-out and ex-ministry student among bona fide biologists, geologists, and naturalists. With the voyage of the Beagle he had suddenly landed in their midst and won the friendship of many of the most eminent among them. It was in this hard-nosed and practical direction that his career now lay. Sadly enough, too, as still continues into our day, there was no career and little if any future for a scientist impelled to probe the nature of morality or moral evolution. And even worse were the prospects for anyone who might set out to become a respected scientist speaking of--of all things--love! With the Henslows, Hookers, and Huxleys who were to become his loyal band of defenders there would be no contest between the two directions. Malthus they had read, and the evidence he could bring together to eventually explain the theory of natural selection they 152
Dawin in Love could understand. But this smarmy "love" business ... perish the thought! They were excellent men, among the finest of their time, good to their wives and children, some fighting--as with Huxley--for the best causes of their time, often resonating to and generous to a fault with the poor. But they were also men who had been desensitized to brutality not only through the basic training for maleness over thousands of years, but also through the requirement of their science for the chloroforming, dissecting, stuffing, and mounting of their fellow inhabitants of this earth. The Malthusian theory had, we can see, a certain macho appeal. Morever, there was the over-riding consideration of the unseen but overwhelmingly powerful play of paradigm upon him. Darwin came to science during the heyday of the British empire, with the social position and the wealth of the class into which he was born largely built through conquest of the "lesser" peoples of this earth. Nations look to their scientists for justification. As many scholars have noted, "survival of the fittest" provided a very good alibi for conquest. Malthusian or rock `em, sock `em Darwinism was also, to a significant degree--even though far from wholly true, we know today--what Darwin, and the Neo-Darwinians who thereafter established first half Darwinism, saw in the natural world.1 Where you and I might only see a bucolic field of flowers, the Darwinian naturalist knew that beneath the leaves there raged, as in the depths of the jungle, an often bloody struggle with the spoils, and the perpetuation of one's own genes, going to the most powerful. But still he might have guessed what would come to be. At first this would have been impossible for him to see, as the brutal and bloody theory of natural selection was resisted because it bumped up against religion and was new. At first he had to join the others in the fight to establish the bloody theory against the seemingly overwhelming power of the 153
David Loye Church and the safe, settled, and indifferent mind. But then the possibility to see into the future began to open up for this most perceptive scientific seer of his time. For what began to unfold in his time and accelerate in the 20th century was what came to be called Social Darwinism--or how the world came to happily and even ferociously embrace the bloody and brutal theory he chose over the other, for it justified the social, business, and political practices that have built and now hold together the only world that most of us can understand. As Darwin aged he did what he could to try to head off the potentially disastrous consequences for us that lay ahead if science should seize up and make of the bloody first half the whole of a theory of evolution. In succeeding editions of both Origin and Descent, with increasing concern and finally open rage, he decried the mounting fixation on natural selection or "survival of the fittest" as the single over-riding drive in evolution. Within the context of his later writings it is clear that in part this concern drove him to make the long delayed attempt to go beyond the inadequacies of the first half, and to raise upon that reasonably established foundation the superstructure of love. This is the story of only part of why the superstructural completion for his theory was buried for over a century. The larger part is detailed in my trilogy Darwin and the Battle for 21st Century Mind. But as Benjamin Franklin wrote: For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, for the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a nail. This is the story of the nail that sealed the coffin. The Scandal That Wasn't Thirty years after Darwin's decision to go with the Malthusian model for his theory of evolution, seeking the lift of inspiration to now 154
Dawin in Love go on and attempt to complete his theory, dreading the task, he returned to the Isle of Wight that had earlier provided refuge for writing what had become The Origin of Species. There and at home afterwards, all during the long cold winter of 1868-69, in The Descent of Man he spelled out the alternative theory of evolution that Mackintosh had inspired. Not only did he write of love 95 times. He also expanded his earlier insights into the sketch for the magnificent theory that it's my conviction the science of the 21st century must now, for the sake of our future, embrace, cherish, and advance. But the irony of ironies was this. Back there in 1868 and 1869--when Darwin was at last writing it all out in a book that people could read and presumably do something about--he failed to do the one thing that might have guaranteed an avid readership for the place of the love theory in the completion of his theory of both prehuman and human evolution. Why he didn't do the one thing needed was because of what in his time would have been a scandal beside which the furor that first greeted The Origin of Species would have seemed as mild as a summer breeze. Again, in The Descent of Man, he laid out the theory of love, as before. But now rather than in a few cryptic lines in a private notebook it was in complete sentences, and paragraphs, and in complete book form, and with the prestige of the man by now known as the world's greatest scientist behind it. Again, he set forth the evolutionary sequence that led to the culmination of love and the moral sense as involved both in the origin and what he now projected as the destination for our species. But he left out the one thing that would have made the second half for his theory sensible to both a scientific and a general readership, however shocked most of them would have been initially. He left out sex as the grounding point for the development of love and moral sensitivity in evolution. 155
David Loye Parental instincts, yes. Social instincts, yes. Emotion and reason, yes. Again, the sequence is there exactly as stated in his early notebooks, and as confirmed by modern brain research--all leading to the evolutionarily inbuilt higher guidance system for our species of moral sensitivity and the expression of love. He even went considerably beyond this to show--contrary to the picture we were given by 20th century Darwinians--how all that we call civilization and culture and the better things of life were built not primarily by the ways of predator and prey. Although natural selection had primarily brought life up to the point of human emergence, and although it still remained in the background at work, he showed how the basic drive for all we most value and call civilization came through the interweaving and shove ahead of the more gentle bonding we evoke with the word humanity. But both the young Darwin and the old Darwin knew this one true fact about his time. They knew his Victorian readership could accept war with the Zulus. And war with China. And the bloody repression of the Indian and Irish rebellions. They could accept that and practically everything else in the way of brutality, slaughter, and meanness that one might think of, and come back asking for more. But not in a million years, as some would say today, could they have accepted the idea that at the driving core of evolution morality was rooted in sex. For daring in Origin of Species to offer his original theory of evolution, he had been pilloried in cartoons as a slackjawed ape man. This time he would have been pilloried in more than cartoons. Not long thereafter, with revolutionary impact, Freud wrote of sex out of a Vienna already reveling in the orgiastic design of art nouveau, saturated with the nudes of Klimt and the poster art sexuality of the fin de siecle era. But back in England the trial of Oscar Wilde revealed what lay ahead for anyone, no matter how eminent, so foolish as to mess with the two-faced British mindset regarding sex. Though Wilde was at the time the world's most famous playwright, for being 156
Dawin in Love revealed as a homosexual he was imprisoned and shattered both physically and psychologically by two years at hard labor, which included being forced to run on a treadmill for six hours daily. So Darwin had to play it safe. And by leaving out sex as the grounding point, his greater theory of our better half could only, like a house of cards in an abandoned room, crumble in the mind. This then was the secret Darwin left buried in the early notebooks, to remain generally unpublished for 132 years. Never once mentioning the sexual base for the rise through parental and social instincts to full blown moral sensitivity in Descent, or in his other later writings, or in letters, nor even recorded by those who clung to him once he became famous in order to rush his every word into print, this was the potential for scandal he managed to keep hidden in the closet throughout his lifetime and for a long time thereafter. And so it was that by leaving out what only a few decades later Freud wove into the most influential theory of the early 20th century, Darwin helped guarantee that the revolutionary completion for his great theory of evolution would remain unknown, unrecognized, and unread. 157
EPILOGUE WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ­ AND YET CAN BE So where does the story go from here? I would like to suggest it goes back to the day when young Charles Darwin finally wangled the approval from his authoritarian father that allowed him to set off on the great adventure of his life that wound up cutting loose all the ups and downs of the adventure of modern times for all of us. For it was the famous voyage of the Beagle that set him on the course that led him to the first half for his theory, which he wrote of in Origin of Species, opening up to science so much of the power that shaped the 20th century. But it was also the voyage that led to the completing half for his theory, of which he wrote in his early notebooks and The Descent of Man. It was the voyage that now gives us a chance to repair and move beyond the damage that was done through the fixation of the 20th century on the Darwinian first half that imprisoned us in the world of "all against all" rather than liberation. Elsewhere I write of how and why this can become the great adventure for the 21st century, and not just for scientists and writers and teachers but for all of us. In The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution, eleven members of the multinational General Evolution Research Group and I tell of how, by wedding the best of the first half with the new scientific studies that corroborate and advance the "love thy neighbor" second half, we can complete the hopeful and even joyful theory and story of evolution that Darwin intended. 158
Dawin in Love In Darwin's Lost Theory I bring back to life page after page of Darwin's own writings laying out his vision of who we really are and can become, what happened to this vision, and how we can now reclaim it. In the trilogy Darwin and the Battle for 21st Century Mind I tell the gripping story of how, why, and by whom the rest of Darwin was buried for a century, and of the uphill battle of all the progressive scientists who fought to establish the science of who we really are, can be, and should be that was Darwin's original vision. All of these books are either or will soon be available through online book sellers worldwide or on order through book stores. But in the end can love prevail over all that for thousands of years has worked against it? The answer lies not in the fact of terrorists and tyranny and all the rest of what regularly seizes the news. It exists beyond the news in the wide world of the decency and good sense of millions of us who quietly go about our lives and work on this earth, hoping and pushing for something better. Worldwide, among scientists and non-scientists alike, having known the worst for a comparison, there is also the backlog and buildup of aspiration, courage, and the determination to make the 21st century into something better. And now we know that the old story was not the true story because it was not the whole story. And we know that the Darwin, who above all valued love, was and is with us, not against us. And this is no small thing. 159

D Loye

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