2011-09-20

 

Lucretius, natural selection and free will

"... moving randomly through space, like dust motes in a sunbeam, colliding, hooking together, forming complex structures, breaking apart again, in a ceaseless process of creation and destruction. There is no escape from this process. ... There is no master plan, no divine architect, no intelligent design

All things, including the species to which you belong, have evolved over vast stretches of time. The evolution is random, though in the case of living organisms, it involves a principle of natural selection. That is, species that are suited to survive and to reproduce successfully, endure, at least for a time; those that are not so well suited, die off quickly. But nothing — from our own species, to the planet on which we live, to the sun that lights our day — lasts forever. Only the atoms are immortal ..."

Ideas written more than 2000 years ago by Lucretius, here paraphrased by Greenblatt with a modern lens in his book: Lucretius, Man Of Modern Mystery @ NPR. And he also had a beautiful way to describe free will as derived from uncertainty... Too bad Europeans did not convert to "Lucretianism"...


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