Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025962, Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:28:56 -0200

[NABOKV-L] Darwin in Ada
Victor Fet: [ ]All these are wonderful questions, which I would be happy to
discuss. However, NABOKOV-L must stay focused on Nabokov, and I think we
cannot really open a broad discussion on natural sciences, evolution, Darwin
and Chekhov here.[ ]One word on evolution. In my humble opinion,
naturalistic (biological) definition of evolution is inherited change (of
anything an organism has) over time (generations). Darwin defined this in
old-fashioned words as "descent with modification", clear enough to
understand for us today.[ ]"Progress" may be included, depending on
definition and situation. "Improvement" (of function and structure) is often
observed, but again depends on viewpoint. Worm does not always strive to be
a man: from human position, tapeworm's evolution is degradation compared
even to its free-living worm ancestors. Yes, it lost guts completely--but
why do you need guts if you live inside someone's ? Very often terms are
confused, and they have many meanings. There is no denying wonderful
evolution of human sentience, although I have seen opinions that primates
are a dead-end due to their herd/leader mentality (cf. Russia).And other
species (not only closest primates but especially birds and octopi; don't
count out your dog and my cat) have glimpses of sentience, or alternative
path to it (ants!!). Evolution tends to acquire complexity over time. But be
careful with shallow time we live in (thrones and kings and powers): a
living cell is 2 billion year old, and more complex than any novel.

Jansy Mello: Thank you, Victor, for another challenging post, describing
primates as "a dead-end due to their herd/leader mentality", our need to
heed "shallow time" (Yes, "terms are confused". Nabokov used thrones and
powers under a different meaning/guise) and a living cell with its two
billion old age: the urge to live overpowering transient biostructures and
functions (wonderful observation about the tapeworm's guts! ). There's even
a place here for VN's ADA (initially planned as "The Texture of Time"),
mainly because in it the "mind" and "human consciousness" and "sentience"
have a specific role to play. I hope you answer me back here!

Btw: Let's not rule out your review of Chekhov, which I thought you'd
included in connection to your science link [ ]
Your quote is apt in its relation to VN's optimistic vision, added to
Darwinian theories ( Man has need of that life and if it doesn't yet exist,
he must sense it, wait for it and dream of it, prepare to receive it, and to
achieve that he must see and know more than our grandfathers and fathers saw
or knew.")

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