ABSTRACT

Herbert Spencer was the first great evolutionist, and he gave the word evolution its modern connotation in English. Animals and plants evolve generation by generation, and within any one generation the development of each individual is itself an evolution. Society is an organism and society evolves. Moreover, ‘the law of evolution holds of the inner world as it does of the outer world’. Mind evolves; and language and musical expression, the plastic arts and the arts of narrative and dancing, all display one characteristic or another of evolutionary change. Evolution is ‘a universal process of things’. A complex idea is not communicable directly, by giving one after another its component parts in their finished forms; since if no outline pre-exists in the mind of the recipient these component parts will not be rightly combined. Biologists who use English as a scientific language never use the word ‘evolution’ to describe the processes of growth and development.