By Vijay Phanshikar :
“The loss of these tastes (of poetry and music) is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be
injurious to intellect, and more probably to moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”
- Charles Darwin
A VERY profound statement by a scientist -- on issues as delicate as poetry and music! As he delved deep into the exploration of the possible answer to the intrigue of evolution, Charles Darwin certainly realised what actual attributes separate human species from other ones. Out of that realisation came this superfine understanding of the role poetry and music play in human life, human character, human emotion. More importantly, Darwin also realised the criticality of emotion as the core of human refinement, finesse -- that marks the highest state and stage of the evolutionary pyramid. Man sits at the highest peak only because he has emotion -- which other species specifically lack, may be out of the Divine design! And when this emotional core gets enfeebled, the human individual loses his (or her) primacy in the larger scheme of Nature. Getting deeper into that meditative search of the purpose of the presence of emotion at the human core, Charles Darwin realised this core universal truth -- that the emotional part of human nature is the real strength man possesses, and it must be protected and preserved and promoted.
Poetry and music, Darwin found, were two attributes that kept the emotional persona of human individual intact -- as if he were a poet, as if he were a seasoned musician steeped deep in fine nuances of human desire and the chase of its fulfillment. Of course, he was alone in that league -- of thinking like this. Most writers and poets and musicians and artists in various disciplines have often felt the same. And beyond all these, even the sages have sensed the power of poetry and music as great nurturers of human finesse.
That was why they sang in the praise of the Divine, in the process creating fine poetry and great musical expressions. As he launched his exploration of the secret of human superiority, Charles Darwin, too, realised that if the human emotion gets enfeebled, then human nature, too, goes through a negative metamorphosis, converting the individual into some sort of a zombie who lives on an animalistic plane, propelled sheerly by Nature-controlled instinct and driven by senseless desire bordering on lust of every kind. Everybody talks of Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ -- by way of which he suggests that the strongest does not survive all the time, but the fittest does. And in that comprehension what is fittest, Darwin realised, emotion lends the core strength to man.