While working on the book about the first cat, I had an itch to see that evolution cartoon that’s set to Ravel’s “Bolero.” You’ve heard of it, perhaps?
Well, instead, I came across this sand-animated (yes) video that is just incredible to watch. It’s art, not science. What planning must have gone into it, as well as artistic skill! Here’s their main page and YouTube channel – I guess they do this live, too.
Below “Evolution” I’ve put a G. K. Chesterton quote that popped into my mind as I watched the last sequence.
As enunciated today, “progress” is simply
a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.
We meet every ideal of religion, patriotism, beauty, or brute
pleasure with the alternative ideal of progress–that is to say,
we meet every proposal of getting something that we know about,
with an alternative proposal of getting a great deal more of nobody
knows what. Progress, properly understood, has, indeed, a most
dignified and legitimate meaning. But as used in opposition
to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous. So far from it being
the truth that the ideal of progress is to be set against that
of ethical or religious finality, the reverse is the truth.
Nobody has any business to use the word “progress” unless
he has a definite creed and a cast-iron code of morals.
Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal; I might almost
say that nobody can be progressive without being infallible–
at any rate, without believing in some infallibility.
For progress by its very name indicates a direction;
and the moment we are in the least doubtful about the direction,
we become in the same degree doubtful about the progress.
Never perhaps since the beginning of the world has there been
an age that had less right to use the word “progress” than we.
In the Catholic twelfth century, in the philosophic eighteenth
century, the direction may have been a good or a bad one,
men may have differed more or less about how far they went, and in
what direction, but about the direction they did in the main agree,
and consequently they had the genuine sensation of progress.
But it is precisely about the direction that we disagree.
Whether the future excellence lies in more law or less law,
in more liberty or less liberty; whether property will be finally
concentrated or finally cut up; whether sexual passion will reach
its sanest in an almost virgin intellectualism or in a full
animal freedom; whether we should love everybody with Tolstoy,
or spare nobody with Nietzsche;–these are the things about which we
are actually fighting most. It is not merely true that the age
which has settled least what is progress is this “progressive” age.
It is, moreover, true that the people who have settled least
what is progress are the most “progressive” people in it.
The ordinary mass, the men who have never troubled about progress,
might be trusted perhaps to progress. The particular individuals
who talk about progress would certainly fly to the four
winds of heaven when the pistol-shot started the race.
I do not, therefore, say that the word “progress” is unmeaning; I say
it is unmeaning without the previous definition of a moral doctrine,
and that it can only be applied to groups of persons who hold
that doctrine in common. Progress is not an illegitimate word,
but it is logically evident that it is illegitimate for us.
It is a sacred word, a word which could only rightly be used
by rigid believers and in the ages of faith.
— G. K. Chesterton, in “Heretics” (Chapter 2)
Categories: Random thoughts