CharlesDarwin has provided comprehensive debates on the theory of evolutionand how nature has played its role in containing species. In thepassage “Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means ofsubsistence consequently he is occasionally subjected to a severestruggle for existence, and natural selection will have effectedwhatever lies within its scope” (ch 21) suggests that the currentwars and conflicts around the world are caused by competition forlimited natural and manmade resources, something that he will neverhave enough of.
Thebook ‘Descent of man’ was Darwin’s second book after hisearlier book “On the origin of species” hence largely acontinuation of the first book. In this book, he applies the theoryof evolution on numerous circumstances and situations to show howevolution works and how it is connected with natural selection.Darwin says that death of the weaker species either throughstarvation, disease, natural disasters among other means is nature’sown way of ensuring that it can only hold a population which it cansupport and that the population left behind is of the highestquality.
Throughthis specific passage and the book as a whole, Darwin confirms whatmany people are unwilling to admit life is not fair and only thestrong survive. Although this claim seems to endorse greed,selfishness and denies anyone who seeks to promote the welfare ofanother other than their own, it is what is happening in the realworld. Capitalism has ensured that there are billionaires in thisworld who live in opulence while others in the corner of the worldare starving. The argument here is that those who do not have themeans of sustenance such to fend for themselves or superior skillsthat can enable them join gainful employment are weaknesses thatshould be done away with.
Thepassage explains the origins and causes of the wars and the conflictof this world. The current situation facing Syria and Iraq iscompetition for resources. ISIS is demanding an Islamic Caliphate inthe region and claiming territories belong to Ira, Syria, Palestineand Israel among other Middle Eastern countries. What if the worldhad unending land masses that it would allow the extremist groupssuch as ISIS to allocate themselves a country without the need toengage in war with others? There would be no war and the conflictwhich has seen hundreds killed and others displaced.
Thepassage is also supported by another passage also by Darwin from the“Origin of species” that “More individuals are born than canpossibly survive. A grain in the balance may determine whichindividuals shall live and which shall die–which variety or speciesshall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally becomeextinct” (Ch 15) This supports the idea that limited resources arethe cause of death for species. The factors that tip the balance thatmean life and death in this competitive world where the number ofpeople alive is way higher than the number that can be supported bynature are very tiny as indicated by a “grain” that can mean lifeor death.
Thepassage also offers advice to people to look for that one grain thatcan mean life or death. While many may point at huge bank accounts asthe needed grain to survive in this world, others might see it asjust following simple instructions or adhering to traffic lights. Itadvices that though man can tends to increase beyond his subsistence,he can identify just one simple or tiny way to keep himself alive.
Thetwo passages discussed above present a realistic and simplisticapproach to life and death. They portray death as natural and aproduct of nature just like life itself. The passages also helpexplain contemporary issues facing the world such capitalism, wars,global disasters and the like. Such occurrences are nature’sresponse to man living beyond his subsistence and his naturalinstinct to survive.
DarwinC. (1871). Descentof man.New York: Appleton and Company.
Darwin,C. (2009). Originof species6thed. New York: Cambridge University Press.