Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sexual Love is the Opposite of Evolution

As this argument makes clear, propagation of ones genes is clearly not the bottom line of biological organisms or else evolution would have remained at the initial stages. I take this argument to refute the reductionist notion advanced by Richard Dawkins and others that humanity can be reduced to biology and biology to “selfish genes”. That we find the inverse ratio, elucidated below, in biology would seem to indicate, if we assumed Dawkins was right, that the process of evolution was self-destructing by the development of sexual differentiation and the decrease in propagation. Isn’t this, indeed, a signpost to the alert that materialism does not account for biology?

“Ordinarily the meaning of sexual love is supposed to lie in the propagation of the species, for which it serves as a means. I consider this view incorrect- not merely on the basis of any theoretical considerations, but above all on the basis of facts of natural history. That propagation of all living creatures may take place without sexual love is already clear from the fact that is does take place without division into sexes. A significant portion of organisms both of the vegetable and the animal kingdom propagates in a non-sexual fashion: by segmentation, budding spores and grafting. It is true that higher forms of both organic kingdoms propagate by the sexual method, but the organisms which propagate in this fashion, vegetable as well as animal in part, may likewise propagate in a non-sexual fashion (grafting in the vegetable world, parthenogenesis in higher insects). Moreover, setting this aside, and recognizing as a general rule that the higher organisms propagate by the means of sexual union, we are bound to conclude that this sexual factor is connected not with propagation in general (which may take place also apart from it), but with the propagation of higher organisms. Consequently, the meaning of sexual propagation (and of sexual love) is to be sought not in the idea of the life of the species and its propagation at all, but only in the idea of the higher organism.
We find a striking confirmation of this view in the following important fact: within the limits of animals which propagate exclusively in the sexual mode (the division of vertebrates), the higher we ascend in the hierarchy of organisms, the weaker the power of propagation becomes, but, on the other hand, the greater the power of sexual attraction becomes. In the lowest class of this division- among fish- propagation takes place on an enormous scale: the embryos produced every year by each female are counted in millions. These embryos are fertilized by the male outside the body of the female, and the method by which this is done does not admit of any powerful sexual impulse. Of all the vertebrate animals this cold-blooded class undoubtedly propagates most of all. In the next stage- that of amphibians and reptiles- the power of propagation is far less significant than among fish (though some of the species of this class, not without basis, are assigned in the Bible to the number of creatures that swarm in great quantities); together with a smaller rate of propagation, we already find in these animals more intimate sexual relations… Among birds the power of propagation is far weaker, not only in comparison with fishes, but also in comparison, for instance, with frogs, yet the sexual attraction and the mutual attachment between male and female attain a development unheard of in the two lower classes. Among mammals, which are already viviparous- the power of propagation is significantly weaker among birds, and sexual attraction, among the majority at any rate, is less constant; but, to balance that, it is far more intense. Lastly, in humans, in comparison with the whole animal kingdom, propagation is effected on the smallest scale, but sexual love attains its utmost significance and its highest power, uniting in the superlative degree, both constancy in the relation (as in birds) and intensity of passion (as in mammals). So then, sexual love and propagation of the species are found to be in inverse ratio to each other: the more powerful the one, the weaker the other. Speaking generally about the aspect which is being examined, the whole animal kingdom develops in the following order: At the bottom there is an enormous power of propagation with a complete absence of anything resembling sexual love (owing to the absence even of division into sexes). Farther on, among the more perfect organisms, sexual differentiation, together with its corresponding sexual attraction, makes its appearance. At first the attraction is extremely weak, but later it gradually increases in further stages of organic development, as the power of propagation diminishes (i.e. attraction is in direct ratio to the perfection of the organization and in inverse ratio to the power of propagation), until finally, at the very peak- in humans- the most powerful possible sexual love makes its appearance, even to the complete exclusion of propagation. So, if in this way, at the two extremes of animal existence we find on the one hand propagation without any sexual love, and on the other hand sexual love without any propagation, then it is perfectly clear that these two phenomena cannot be bonded indissolubly with one another. It is clear that each of them possesses its own independent significance, and that the meaning of the one cannot consist in its being a means to the other. The result is the same if we examine sexual love exclusively in the human world, where it is incomparably greater than in the animal world, and where it assumes that individual character by power of which just this person of the other sex possesses for the lover absolute significance, as unique and irreplaceable, as a very end in itself.” -Vladimir Solovyov, The Meaning of Love, Chp. 1, Part 1.

Two intense examples which come to my mind of what Solovyov is speaking of when he alludes to human sexual love without any propagation are the love of Dante for Beatrice and the life long love of Gibran Khalil Gibran for the woman who loved him but submitted to an arranged marriage to a man who cheated on her.

(Solovyov was a friend of Doestoevsky. It is thought that both the chracters of Alyosha and Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov were based on this outstanding figure in Russian history).

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