I Have a Dream

No, the title is not referring to the timeless speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. Rather, it is referring to a speech made by Old Major, a prize boar on the animal farm and a highly respected figure of the animal community. At the start of the book, Old Major tells the rest of the animals on the farm of a dream that he has had regarding their future – a dream where animals were no longer treated as subservient creatures at the hands of the humans but where animals were equals among each other, isolated from the humans. Just three days after leading all the farm animals in joyous song celebrating their future, old major died of undisclosed causes. This sparked the beginning of the animal farm.

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a story written by George Orwell critiquing the history and rhetoric of the Russian Revolution. Orwell sets the story in an actual farm, as the animals that reside there rebel against the farmer. Orwell then parallels almost exactly the story of the animals of the farm and the “animals” of the Russian Revolution. It looks to be a very interesting read, albeit a tad difficult to follow. I’ll be sure to post some more blogs getting into further detail about this interesting story.

The Earth is Sufficient

The belief of a “god” or an afterlife is the symptom of an unhealthy body. These beliefs are caused by the body being unable to be happy with its existence because it is sick. Believing in these things is a sad attempt at giving the body hope for another chance- for something that is beyond this world. Even though this world is all that there is. This is Friedrich Nietzsche’s belief. He says that a healthy body is one that recognizes that it is primarily a physical body, and through this realization is happy with its existence. This is completely opposite to the beliefs of Christians. Christians believe that they are souls who have physical representations on the earth. Nietzsche believed that if a person achieved the status of the overman, there would be no entity above them. He believed that the overman was the highest creature in the universe. This is where I believe Nietzsche was really wrong. Even if somebody could overcome all of the vague trials of becoming an overman, they would not be satisfied. They would not be the highest being because instead of recognizing that there was more to life than the body, an overman has tied themselves to the earth. They have tried to find peace by accepting that all that exists is carnal desires. This is how the overman will never have any peace. This is why Nietzsche’s philosophy was flawed.

The Overman

Upon further inspection, Nietzche’s overman appears to be representative of an ordinary person who has achieved some specific form of enlightenment. The problem that I’m presented with here is that there is no solid definition of an end goal. Throughout the chapters I’ve been reading, Zarathustra (by extension, Nietzche) has not provided an explicit end goal for the overman. He has provided chapters upon chapters of vague directions and obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve overman status, but nowhere has he provided a clear cut picture of the overman. There have been no examples at all. He has provided actions that an overman would do, but even these are confusing and convoluted.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The book Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a fictional account written by¬†Friedrich Nietzsche of a character called Zarathustra. In this account, Zarathustra has achieved a somewhat enlightened state of understanding, and wants to share it with a town. In his apparent enlightenment, he talks about what he refers to as an “overman” and really expounds upon Nietszche’s beliefs. It’s a weird concept, but I’m going to dig into it a little and put out a couple more posts explaining the overman.

Geographic Influence

In chapters eleven and twelve, Darwin discusses geological barriers to migration of species and how species moved from one side of the world to another. He writes his observations about how species on islands are very specific to that island and often found nowhere else in the world, because they are unable to leave that island. Also, however, he notes that many times species on islands are similar to the land masses next to them. The famous example of the Galapagos Islands, for instance- many of the creatures found on those islands can only be found on those islands, however, many of them bear resemblances to species in South America. He notes that species that are able to migrate more freely and that are suitable to a wide range of environments are far more common throughout the world. Even with plants, he mentions that plants that create seeds with barbs are found more commonly than those without, because the barbs make it easier for animals to carry them larger distances.

The Strength of One Ant

In this chapter of Origin of Species, Darwin brings up one instance in nature that could dismantle his entire theory of natural selection and inheritance of traits. In some ant species, the worker ants, which vary from the non-worker ants in both structure and instinct, are sterile. If these ants are unable to produce offspring, how could their traits be inherited by subsequent generations? He concludes, rather unconvincingly, that natural selection is not limited to a creature by creature basis but to species as whole entities.

Instinct

In this chapter Darwin discusses animal instincts, where they come from, and what they do. Animal instincts are behavioral patterns that are ingrained into a creature’s existence. Migration is one such pattern. Animal instincts help creatures make the best of the traits and physical attributes that have been developed through natural selection. The one problem that Darwin has is explaining the origin of these traits. Where do they come from? Are they generational?

Addressing Potential Flaws, Part II

In another part of that chapter, Darwin addresses the lack of transitional varieties of species. He argues that since the environments required to initiate change in an organism are often in the extremes, that transitional varieties of species who did not adapt quickly enough would have died off rather quickly, and left no trace. This makes sense in the scope of natural selection. If there is a dog in a desert, and there are three varieties of the same dog – short haired, medium haired, and long haired, the long haired variety of dog will die off rather quickly. The short haired dog will survive easily because it is already well adapted to this climate. The medium haired dog may survive, and it may eventually adapt to the environment, but there are a variety of factors to consider. Perhaps the large success of the small haired dog will leave the medium haired dogs with less food, or perhaps there will be a really bad summer where it gets even hotter and most of the medium haired population, who isn’t perfectly suited for this environment, dies off? These concepts and situations are common.

Darwin’s Origin of Species

In this chapter, Darwin addressed some of the weaknesses of his theory this far. One of the points that he really doesn’t have a response to is how objects such as an eye, which is so complicated, can occur in descendants of beings that don’t have eyes, nor have the material in their genome to build such complicated organs. The simple answer is that cannot occur, and by the way he writes you can tell that Darwin knows that full well. Creatures can lose eyes or eyesight by natural selection, for example, exclusively cave-dwelling creatures often go lose the faculty of vision over generations simply because they don’t need to see. However, for a creature with no eyes to slowly create such an organ is flat out impossible. However, if you factor in the theory of intelligent design, the origin for complex organs is suddenly a lot easier to understand.