Frasi di Julian S. Huxley

Julian S. Huxley foto
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Julian S. Huxley

Data di nascita: 22. Giugno 1887
Data di morte: 14. Febbraio 1975

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Sir Julian Sorell Huxley è stato un biologo, genetista e scrittore britannico, figlio di Leonard, nipote di Thomas e fratello di Aldous Huxley; è noto per i suoi studi finalizzati alla rifondazione della teoria genetica all'interno della teoria darwiniana della selezione naturale. Ha conseguito la laurea in Scienze Biologiche nel 1913, all'Università di Oxford, specializzandosi in Zoologia, Botanica e Genetica animale. Ha pubblicato diversi saggi sia di carattere scientifico che sociale: ha introdotto il concetto di evoluzione psicosociale di un sistema . Questa postulazione risulta fondamentale per la spiegazione della sopravvivenza dell'uomo almeno quanto quella fondata sull'adattamento del suo patrimonio genetico alle mutazioni ambientali . È stato segretario della Società Zoologica di Londra , il primo Direttore dell'UNESCO, e membro fondatore del WWF.

Ha ricevuto numerose onorificenze, tra cui il Premio Kalinga per la divulgazione scientifica , la Medaglia Darwin e la Medaglia Linneana .

Frasi Julian S. Huxley

„The unrest will produce some unpleasant consequences before it is dissipated; but it is in essence a beneficent unrest, a dynamic force which will not be stilled until it has laid the physiological foundations of human destiny.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: Thanks to science, the under-privileged are coming to believe that no one need be underfed or chronically diseased, or deprived of the benefits of its technical and practical applications. The world's unrest is largely due to this new belief. People are determined not to put up with a subnormal standard of physical health and material living now that science has revealed the possibility of raising it. The unrest will produce some unpleasant consequences before it is dissipated; but it is in essence a beneficent unrest, a dynamic force which will not be stilled until it has laid the physiological foundations of human destiny.

„Whether he wants to or not, whether he is conscious of what he is doing or not, he is in point of fact determining the future direction of evolution on this earth.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The new understanding of the universe has come about through the new knowledge amassed in the last hundred years — by psychologists, biologists, and other scientists, by archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians. It has defined man's responsibility and destiny — to be an agent for the rest of the world in the job of realizing its inherent potentialities as fully as possible. It is as if man had been suddenly appointed managing director of the biggest business of all, the business of evolution — appointed without being asked if he wanted it, and without proper warning and preparation. What is more, he can't refuse the job. Whether he wants to or not, whether he is conscious of what he is doing or not, he is in point of fact determining the future direction of evolution on this earth. That is his inescapable destiny, and the sooner he realizes it and starts believing in it, the better for all concerned.

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„If such exist, they crown Life's progress...“

— Julian Huxley
Context: In man, personality is usually defined with reference to self-consciousness rather than to individuality; but the power of reflection and self-knowledge is linked up, in our type of personality at least, with the new flight of individuality — conscious memory seems necessarily to imply a vast increase of independence, so that it is all one whether we define the possessor of personality as a self-conscious individual, or as an individual whose individuality is more extensive both in space and time than the material substance of his body. Personality, as we know it, is free compared with the individuality of the lower animals; but it is still weighted down with the body. There may be personalities which have not merely transcended substance, but are rid of it altogether: in all ages the theologian and the mystic have told of such "disembodied spirits," postulated by the one, felt by the other, and now the psychical investigator with his automatic writing and his cross-correspondences is seeking to give us rigorous demonstration of them. If such exist, they crown Life's progress... "The Individual in the Animal Kingdom" (1912); quoted in From Gaia to Selfish Genes: Selected Writings in the Life Sciences (1992) by Connie Barlow, Ch. 6 "Blurred Bounds of Individuality"

„We are beginning to realize that even the most fortunate people are living far below capacity, and that most human beings develop not more than a small fraction of their potential mental and spiritual efficiency.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: We are beginning to realize that even the most fortunate people are living far below capacity, and that most human beings develop not more than a small fraction of their potential mental and spiritual efficiency. The human race, in fact, is surrounded by a large area of unrealized possibilities, a challenge to the spirit of exploration.

„The world of things entered your infant mind
To populate that crystal cabinet.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The world of things entered your infant mind To populate that crystal cabinet. Within its walls the strangest partners met, And things turned thoughts did propagate their kind. For, once within, corporeal fact could find A spirit. Fact and you in mutual debt Built there your little microcosm—which yet Had hugest tasks to its small self assigned. Dead men can live there, and converse with stars: Equator speaks with Pole, and Night with Day: Spirit dissolves the world's material bars— A million isolations burn away. The Universe can live and work and plan, At last made God within the mind of man. Poem in Essays of a Biologist (1923), quoted by Richard Dawkins in A Devil's Chaplain (2003).

„I believe that an equally drastic reorganization of our pattern of religious thought is now becoming necessary, from a god-centered to an evolutionary-centered pattern.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: Eventually the old ideas will no longer serve, the old ideological framework can no longer be tinkered up to bear the weight of the facts, and a radical reconstruction becomes necessary, leading eventually to the emergence of a quite new organisation of thought and belief, just as the emergence of new types of bodily organization was necessary to achieve biological advance. Such major organizations of thought may be necessary in science as much as in religion. The classical example, of course, was the re-patterning of cosmological thought which demoted the earth from its central position and led to the replacement of the geocentric pattern of thought by a heliocentric one. I believe that an equally drastic reorganization of our pattern of religious thought is now becoming necessary, from a god-centered to an evolutionary-centered pattern.

„We shall start from new premises. … The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself — not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: We shall start from new premises. … The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself — not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature. "I believe in transhumanism": once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Pekin man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.

„Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The supernatural is being swept out of the universe in the flood of new knowledge of what is natural. It will soon be as impossible for an intelligent, educated man or woman to believe in a god as it is now to believe the earth is flat, that flies can be spontaneously generated... or that death is always due to witchcraft... The god hypothesis is no longer of any pragmatic value for the interpretation or comprehension of nature, and indeed often stands in the way of better and truer interpretation. Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat. Religion without Revelation (1957) p. 58

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„The new understanding of the universe has come about through the new knowledge amassed in the last hundred years — by psychologists, biologists, and other scientists, by archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians. It has defined man's responsibility and destiny — to be an agent for the rest of the world in the job of realizing its inherent potentialities as fully as possible.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The new understanding of the universe has come about through the new knowledge amassed in the last hundred years — by psychologists, biologists, and other scientists, by archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians. It has defined man's responsibility and destiny — to be an agent for the rest of the world in the job of realizing its inherent potentialities as fully as possible. It is as if man had been suddenly appointed managing director of the biggest business of all, the business of evolution — appointed without being asked if he wanted it, and without proper warning and preparation. What is more, he can't refuse the job. Whether he wants to or not, whether he is conscious of what he is doing or not, he is in point of fact determining the future direction of evolution on this earth. That is his inescapable destiny, and the sooner he realizes it and starts believing in it, the better for all concerned.

„What the job really boils down to is this — the fullest realization of man's possibilities, whether by the individual, by the community, or by the species in its processional adventure along the corridors of time.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: What the job really boils down to is this — the fullest realization of man's possibilities, whether by the individual, by the community, or by the species in its processional adventure along the corridors of time. Every man-jack of us begins as a mere speck of potentiality, a spherical and microscopic egg-cell. During the nine months before birth, this automatically unfolds into a truly miraculous range of organization: after birth, in addition to continuing automatic growth and development, the individual begins to realize his mental possibilities — by building up a personality, by developing special talents, by acquiring knowledge and skills of various kinds, by playing his part in keeping society going.

„In the actual duration of his life, the individual ranges from the bacterium's hour to the the big tree's five thousand years.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: In the actual duration of his life, the individual ranges from the bacterium's hour to the the big tree's five thousand years. Man in this again stands at the pinnacle of individuality — not in mere length of days, but in having found a means to perpetuate a part of himself in spite of death. By speech first, but far more by writing, man has been able to put something of himself beyond death. In tradition and in books an integral part of the individual persists, for it can influence the minds and actions of other people in different places and at different times: a row of black marks on a page can move a man to tears, though the bones of him that wrote it are long ago crumbled to dust. In truth, the whole progress of civilization is based upon this power. Once more the upward progress of terrestrial life towards individuality has found apparently insurmountable obstacles, gross material difficulties before it, but once more through consciousness it finds wings, and, laughing at matter, flies over lightly where it could not climb. To such an individuality, one that can thus transcend the limits of its substance, the name Personality is commonly given. Man alone possesses true personality, though there is as it were an aspiration towards it visible among the higher vertebrates, stirring their placid automatism with airs of consciousness. "The Individual in the Animal Kingdom" (1912); quoted in From Gaia to Selfish Genes: Selected Writings in the Life Sciences (1992) by Connie Barlow, Ch. 6 "Blurred Bounds of Individuality" <!-- Barlow in quoting Huxley also notes that modern science has revealed that clone-propagating blueberries in an Appalachian mountaintop and Aspens of the Rockies may have root-stocks ten or fifteen thousand years old. -->

„As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe — in a few of us human beings. Perhaps it has been realized elsewhere too, through the evolution of conscious living creatures on the planets of other stars. But on this our planet, it has never happened before.

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„In developing a full, deep and rich personality the individual ceases to be a mere cog or cipher, and makes his own particular contribution to evolutionary fulfilment.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: Human potentialities constitute the world's greatest resource, but at the moment only a tiny fraction of them is being realized. The possibility of tapping and directing these vast resources of human possibility provide the religion of the future with a powerful long-term motive. An equally powerful short-term motive is to ensure the fullest possible development and flowering of individual personalities. In developing a full, deep and rich personality the individual ceases to be a mere cog or cipher, and makes his own particular contribution to evolutionary fulfilment.

„One thing is certain, that the well-developed, well-integrated personality is the highest product of evolution, the fullest realization we know of in the universe.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The personality may grievously fail in attaining any real wholeness. One thing is certain, that the well-developed, well-integrated personality is the highest product of evolution, the fullest realization we know of in the universe.

„There is no separate supernatural realm: all phenomena are part of one natural process of evolution. There is no basic cleavage between science and religion; they are both organs of evolving humanity.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The entire cosmos is made out of one and the same world-stuff, operated by the same energy as we ourselves. "Mind" and "matter" appears as two aspects of our unitary mind-bodies. There is no separate supernatural realm: all phenomena are part of one natural process of evolution. There is no basic cleavage between science and religion; they are both organs of evolving humanity.

„The great men of the past have given us glimpses of what is possible in the way of personality, of intellectual understanding, of spiritual achievement, of artistic creation. But these are scarcely more than Pisgah glimpses.“

— Julian Huxley
Context: The first thing that the human species has to do to prepare itself for the cosmic office to which it finds itself appointed is to explore human nature, to find out what are the possibilities open to it (including, of course, its limitations, whether inherent or imposed by the facts of external nature)... The great men of the past have given us glimpses of what is possible in the way of personality, of intellectual understanding, of spiritual achievement, of artistic creation. But these are scarcely more than Pisgah glimpses. We need to explore and map the whole realm of human possibility, as the realm of physical geography has been explored and mapped. How to create new possibilities for ordinary living? What can be done to bring out the latent capacities of the ordinary man and woman for understanding and enjoyment; to teach people the techniques of achieving spiritual experience (after all, one can acquire the technique of dancing or tennis, so why not of mystical ecstasy or spiritual peace?); to develop native talent and intelligence in the growing child, Instead of frustrating or distorting them?

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