Wallace, the partner of Charles Darwin, considered the human
brain to be an unexplained anomaly in the theory of evolution.
He wondered aloud whether ‘some unknown spiritual element’ might
account for the exceptional artistic and scientific abilities
that apparently emanated from the human brain.
a spiritual element, or soul-substance, be a driving force behind
the process of evolution?
modern scientists, the idea of spirit, or soul, is anathema,
since it is impossible to observe such a substance directly,
or to prove its existence by other means. To suggest that such
spirit, or soul, played a crucial role in evolution (not just
in man but in all creatures) is to speculate beyond the permissible
boundaries of modern science.
the rules of modern science are not necessarily the dictum of
reality, and it remains perfectly possible that a fifth element,
whether it be called spirit or soul, is indeed the driving force
behind life on our planet, and indeed in the wider Universe.
For an illustration of how this might work, based on Socratic
and Platonic concepts of reality, see the Postscript to my book ‘The
might such a soul-substance have influenced the process of Darwinian
possible scenario is that soul-substance, present in the DNA
of all living organisms, senses any changes to the organism’s
environment and reacts intelligently to ensure its survival.
This mechanism would lie dormant for the vast majority of time,
only to be activated in times of acute crisis. Members of a species
might thus acquire a new characteristic – one key to its
future survival – virtually overnight. And this essential
genetic improvement would then obviously be favoured by natural
selection. In this way, evolution, seen as a whole, would occur
not via descent with modification driven by statistics and chance,
but rather via descent with modification driven by intelligence – the
intelligence that was immanent in the soul-substance.
same soul-substance would also account for the consciousness
that is present in humans and, one presumes, other living organisms.
is, of course, complete speculation, but many of us might sense,
intuitively, that it is true.
soul-substance theory is complementary to existing Darwinian
theory, and might help to explain how Homo erectus became Homo
sapiens virtually overnight in the evolutionary scheme of
things. Intriguingly, it would imply that man’s gift of
intelligence, artistry, music, et cetera, is not unique, but
is rather shared by all other species as an innate potentiality.