Friday, November 19, 2010

G. B. Shaw and Natural Selection: His Desire to Improve Human Kind

During last night’s lecture, we looked at G. B. Shaw’s Back to Methuselah and examined how it relates to the very idea of evolution. To better understand Shaw’s plays, Dr. Ogden assigned us the interesting task of acting out certain parts of each play; this allowed us to not only further or knowledge of the text, but to have a little fun on the way. Our Advocacy group was assigned Part V “As Far As Thought Can Reach”, which takes place in the year 31, 920. We decided to focus on the birth scene of a newly born; essentially, it is a dialogue between a youth and an elder, and explores what is to come in the child’s life. The scene is a great representation and example of what Shaw’s human race has achieved over the ages.

Throughout the plays, Shaw focuses much of his attention on the human will and how it can affect and influence the process of evolution. According to him, the answer to human suffering is greater intelligence which can be achieved by living longer and mastering the inner will. This will allow the human race to dominant the world around them, and influence the way evolution proceeds. Essentially, Shaw believes that humans have a choice that will help shape and influence future generations to come. In this sense, Shaw’s beliefs are similar to that of Darwin’s; species that have a greater ability to adapt and control the environment around them are able to live longer. In many ways Darwin influenced and shaped Shaw’s theories on human kind. His main concern was that of selective reproduction and how the improvement of the human race could be achieved through it. Essentially, Darwin’s theory of natural selection helped shaped Shaw’s desire to improve the human existence. Even though Shaw's beliefs differed greatly from that of Darwins, he still appeared to be influenced by him, and this in a sense, is amazing on Darwin's behalf.

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