What Does Creative Evolution Mean?June 27, 2021
Bergson understands duration as a movement of integrating moments. We can detect that he did not explain the relationship of moments in duration using the cause-effect relation. For Bergson, the present is not a result of the past. When we understand time based on a causal relationship, we leave no room for the new, the possibility and the imagination.
In fact, the outcome of the thesis that the present is not a result of the past is not limited to psychology alone. It also extends to cosmology. According to Bergson, “evolution” expresses the radical novelty and unpredictability of what is happening. That’s why Bergson considers him ‘creative’. In that case, Bergson’s understanding of “duration” deeply affects his understanding of “creative evolution”. Period becomes the foundation of cosmology in Creative Evolvement. The distinction made in the Essay between “intelligence” and “intuition” takes on a new resonance in Creative Evolvement. According to the Essay, intelligence fell short of understanding consciousness because it gave a mechanical and spatial explanation of reality. My duration could only be grasped with “intuition”. In Creative Evolvement, although intelligence is handled in the same way, it is not limited to seeing what is given to consciousness, but is associated with “the tendency to think in speculative and vital terms”. According to Bergson, the task of philosophy is to learn to think beyond the human condition. This is what Creator Evolvement says, “The nature of the whole is the same as mine.” associated with the proposition. One realizes this sameness by focusing on himself and deepening his view of himself. The field of activity of intelligence is the field of spatial matter, and intelligence can reach absolute truth within certain limits by working with determinism in nature. On the other hand, intelligence cannot provide us with absolute knowledge of life and cannot explain the universe that includes all beings. According to Bergson, all beings in the universe emerge from a continuité, from a continuous and free formation, and show themselves. Since the universe is not a static whole, it must be handled in a dynamic way. As it is seen, in Bergson Essay, the first thinks about becoming in consciousness, and in Creator Evolvement, he spreads the thought of becoming to the whole universe, starting from life, and even to matter, which is the field of intelligence.
In Creative Evolvement, Bergson tries to find a third way between the mechanicalism of Neo-Darwinism and the teleology of Neo-Lamarckism. The distinctive feature of this path is the creation of new forms of evolution and the inventive character of life.
Jean Baptiste Lamark (1744-1829). There is a force in the living thing that takes it from simple forms to more complex forms. The power exerted by the environment on a living thing forces it to adapt to the environment by using or not using the features it inherited. Lamark is the thinker who developed the first coherent theory of evolution. Neo-Lamarckism argues that evolution is linked to epigenetic inheritance: A living thing struggles with environmental barriers by changing its genes.
It is a stream of becoming that creates forms of life forms such as organisms and species in creative evolution. This flow has a tendency to break out of every fixed and static determination. Neo-Lamarckism is based on the view that the goal of evolution is achieved by the effort of the individual. In Bergson, the isolation of life in individuals is never complete, it is difficult to define the boundaries of individuality exactly. However, according to Bergson, creative evolution is final in a certain sense. If there is teleology in life, this purpose is not found in the lives of individuals, but in life itself, which is considered as a single and indivisible whole. Bergson puts the emphasis on activity in “evolution,” not on the lifestyles and individuals that this activity produces. This emphasis enables him to distinguish his understanding of evolution from those that treat it as a simple, direct transition from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous. Evolution takes complex paths, it does not follow a straight path, we cannot understand evolution based on the perfection of logic or the idea of progress. According to this understanding of evolution, we cannot say that a more complex organism is more perfect. The thesis that man is the ultimate goal of evolution is also an anthropocentric opinion. Bergson’s understanding of evolution is more complex than that, although many of his readers believe that Bergson did. Attributing a purpose to evolution leads us to understand the creative process of evolution as the fulfillment of a pre-existing plan. In this sense, evolution has no purpose. The path of evolution is not given beforehand, what creates the path here is the activity of crossing that path. The identity of life is not achieved by all beings tending towards the same goal, it arises from an impulse. Bergson calls this the élan vital.
If one of the reasons why life evolves into individuals and species is this impulse, this explosive power that life contains, the other is the resistance of inert matter to life. Life enters inert matter and gradually learns how to derive life forms and vital properties from it. When moving from semi-discontinuous organisms to more complex organisms, these organisms introduce new components to life, new habits.