Humans evolve, to deny this would be to ignore things like dominant traits and our language structure. This is why whilst we may seem more and more diverse at the same time we follow specific trends such as height and weight, we reflect our times and methods of survival within them. The human condition is a state of constant trans-generational flux.

Attempts to set limits on certain parts of evolution have usually failed, and are often known as eugenics or at times can seem fascist in inception. If one takes the Academie Francaise’s campaign to stop the influx of English words into French one finds a more benign but equally ill-fated system of reactionary rearguardism. It would perhaps be far better for the Academie to ensure that the rudiments of the French language are not lost so that they are able to leave the language to evolve organically and when the inevitable backlash to American cultural advance hits the rebellion is to use inate French in defiance of the hegemony. As it is there are seen as a conservative example of the old-guard to be ridiculed and ignored by the people on the street amongst whom many of these linguistic shifts will take place.

The same is true of the Northern European fairytales which, having previously been a fluid oral tradition handed down from generation to generation and evolving with local nuance, language and colour, were then transcribed by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen and standardised in their versions for all time, thus imposing their details onto other areas where they had less relevance. Many see them nowadays as being the originators of such tales rather than merely the transcribers of a folk tradition.

The same can be said in terms of both philosophy and science or more generically ‘knowledge’. Scientific study is almost wholly about the questioning of received understanding. Science was once described by as “a collection of ideas that have not yet been disproven” sadly I forget by whom. There is a kudos firstly in understanding a serious scientific theory and then going to attempt to prove or disprove it. It is a constant evolution as part of a natural human quest for knowledge about everything. One could argue whether this part of the human condition is always a good thing but to try to stop it would be like a lone person standing in front of an Express Train without a driver and expecting it to stop. There is no driver, no co-ordination of human progression, we rumble on regardless rolling over almost every obstacle.

To take scientific tenets and assume that they can never be disproven would be a notion of utter nonsense. It would be like saying our job here was complete. So why do we allow the same situation to exist around religion? The trouble with religion for example is that it is like taking a snapshot of the philosophy and knowledge of the times and expecting it to be relevant forever, this is why the older the religion the more out of touch it is likely to be with the modern world. Any attempt to adhere to a closed idea is always one that allows no room for growth, it stifles learning and questioning and thereby stifles us. Thus any idea forced into the confines of accepted opinion from outdated times is always going to struggle to keep up with people in the evolving world as the knowledge of the time has often been superceeded and left behind in all other areas. As we ourselves become more empirical with age so our understanding of the world grows. However there remain things like death that we cannot experience and consequently we can only speculate as to what the outcomes may be. Things we don’t understand are usually the ones that cause us most concern and fear, the more likely they are to affect us directly the more concerned we are and the more we seek to gain some understanding and the longer any lack of any satisfactory comprehension goes on the greater the possibility of us accepting something more fanciful.

Theology is one of the only areas that is allowed to have this ring-fencing and this is doubtless because there is nothing that can categorically contradict it short of someone genuinely coming back from the dead and declaring that there definitively is/is not a God/Afterlife etc. However many of the supposed examples of something cited to increase the strength of people’s faith have been disproven such as out of body experiences and the white light at the end of the tunnel.

I am not trying to say that everything old is now to be discounted, this would remove much of Greek, Roman, Chinese philosophy as well as the origins of many things such as language and our understanding of ourselves. Understanding needs context, to deny ourselves that would be as foolish as to deny the evolution of those ideals. The progression is one that has taken the entirety of our existence as a species and the items we have written down provide a snapshot of what one school of thought was at the time, but it should not be confused with being absolute truth for such a thing rarely exists. In the words of André Gide “Believe those who are seeking the truth, doubt those who claim to have found it.”

Song Of The Day ~ Joy Division – Dead Souls