Gradation and Evolution
HAVE shown in a former article that the concepts implied by the terms "Grada-tion" and "Evolution" are not incompatible alternatives, respectively true andfalse, but only different ways of envisaging one and the same spectacle; or in otherwords, that the mythical notion of a creation of the world
temporeis in no proper sense a contradiction of that of the succession and mutability of speciesin time. This proposition seems to demand, for its further clarification, at least a sum-mary statement of the traditional doctrine of evolution, in which the emergence of aninfinite variety of forms, past, present and future, is taken for granted.In this doctrine, every one of the forms, every phenomenon, represents one of theiipossibilities of manifestation" of an "ever-productive nature" that may be calledeither the God, the Spirit, Natura Naturans or, as in the present context, the "Life"according to which we speak of the forms of life as "living." This Life is the "FirstCause" of lives; but the forms which these lives take is actually determined by the"Second" or "Mediate Causes" that are nowadays often called "forces" or "laws"notably that of heredity. No difficulty is presented here by the variability of the spe-cies; the shape that appears at any given time or place in the history of a "genus,""species," or "individual" is always
All the definitions of these categoriesare really, like "round numbers," indefinite, because the reference is to "things" thatare always becoming and never stop to be, and that
only be called "things" by ageneralisation that ignores their variation over some longer or shorter, but alwaysrelatively short "present." The traditional doctrine takes this
for granted, andthat every creature's "life" is one of incessant death and regeneration
hava,"becoming"). There are no delimited and monads or egos, but only one ~nlimited.~Every form of life, the psychic included, is composite, and therefore mortal; only thebeginningless Life, that wears these forms as garments are worn, and outworn, can bethought of as endless. There can be no immortality of anything that is not immortalnow and was not immortal before our planet was, before the farthest galaxies began
*The author completed his reading of theproof a few days before he died.
"Gradation and Evolution," in Isis
Platojs dsrysv+s +bars, Laws
Sta-sinus as cited in Euthypkro
A, and +bars
in Philo, LA.
Gk. +bw=Skr. bhli, to becomeor make become;
may be corn-pared with Brahma, from blh, to grow or makegrow. ~h~ word PrLva, spiration
breath, anddesignating the Spirit ((itman) present as thevital principle in living things, is often translatedas "Life."
~t is too often overlooked that "individual"is as a generalisation as "species"; in rela-tion to s~&universals,"
much rather,stractions," the realist becomes a nominalist.i~~~b~,.~~emains one, nor <<is" ne; but
and ifhe is not the same, we cannot say that "he
but only that he is being transformed as one selfcomes into being from the other
"shall be"and "has been," when they are spoken, are ofthemselves a confession of "not being," and it isonly of God, in whose "now" there is neitherfuture nor past, nor older nor younger, that wecan say that "He is" (Plutarch, Moralia
for which innumerable parallels couldbe cited from traditional sources. The word"phenomenon" implies an "of what?", and ananswer to this question can only be made interms of metaphysics; of the phenomena them-sehes, which are by definition the proper fieldof an empirical and statistical science, which ob-serves their succession, and predicts accordingly,Wecannot say that they are, but only that theyappear.'It is obvious that "we," whose only experi-ence is always in terms of past and present, can-not have an empirical experience of a "nowwithout duration," or "eternity"; our so called"present"
not a "now" but only a "nowadays."'AS personalists and individualists we use theexpression
only for convenience, but do sounconsciousl~; he Buddhist, or any other of themetaphysicians who maintain that to say
belongs only to God, likewise use the pronounonly for convenience, but do this consciously.