Evolutionary theories of Genius


Evolutionary theories

3.2. Evolutionary theories  (from Lat. evolutio – unfolding, unrolling) consider patterns and mechanisms of the formation of  genius as a result of an objective process of the development of nature and culture. The evolutionary theories of creativity and genius are based on the belief that the human role in creating something new does not differ from the role of nature. And the problem of creativity is a specific case of the problem of appearance of novelty in the process of evolution. Genius is regarded as the natural result, as the top and crown of cultural evolution. Evolutionary theories states that genius is the result of natural and cultural evolution, and it roots in human nature, society and culture,  and can be measured by the contribution it makes to the progressive development of mankind.  The basic principles of the evolutionary approach, which were proposed by Charles Darwin, have been applied by Herbert Spencer in relation to sociology, ethics and philosophy, for the purpose of scientific explanation.  of the developmental process in all spheres of human existence. At the same time in modern theories the gap between “natural” and “cultural” worlds, between organic and cultural evolution has been overcome by means of application of various informational and theoretical models of development.

3.2.1. Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity and Origins of Genius  (D. Simonton). This theory used the classical concept  of  Charles Darwin and D.Campbell which argues that creative process is the unity of three stages: variation, selection and retention of the best combinations.
D. Simonton states that cultural evolution and influence of the environment stimulates the appearance of a genius. He points out that evolution and natural selection itself is an adequate model for understanding of genius at work. He argues that the work of a creative genius is the example of a Darwin process of variation and selection. D. Simonton says “even a genius cannot escape the Darwinian reality that a creative life consists of hits and misses.”

3.2.2. Creative Evolution as Self-organization. At the same time the process of evolution is associated with a universal process of self-organization, in context of which the creativity and genius are considered as the overcoming of chaos, as the participation in universal process of creation of new patterns. (F. Barron, D. Feldman, H. Gardner, D. Simonton, R. May).

3.2.3. Cultural – ecological theory of creativity and genius states that creativity bloomed and geniuses were born at the places of concentration of information and various culture crossing,  for instance  in Athens, Florence, Paris (M. Chiksentmihaly). An environment and cultural-and- historical context not only facilitated and contributed to the manifestation of individual creativity, but also initiated it becoming an essential component of the process of creation. An extraordinary bloom of art and creativity during Renaissance period M. Chiksentmihaly explains by the fact that it manifested itself as a rediscovery, completion, perfection of classical art  by introducing it into a new context of more developed socio-economic relations. According to M. Chiksentmihaly creativity is the equivalent of cultural evolution and if the biological evolution is based on the modifications of genes, cultural evolution is based on the modification of memes (R. Dawkins), some clusters of information. The essence of creativity lies namely in the modification and improvement of memes, which includes rituals, laws, music and values.

3.2.4. Theory of coincidence and chance. According to the coincidence theory, culture is not made by great people, but by those whose characters and abilities coincide with the objective, pressing demands  of the epoch. The  resonance of  person’s work with the current stage of the cultural environment, evolving by its objective laws, correspondence of their creativite activity with challenges and needs of the epoch, mainly create a Genius.
A great number of discoveries performed “ahead of time” can serve an evidence and irrefutable demonstration of this theory. Such discoveries were done by:
• Aristarchus of Samos who presented the first known heliocentric model of the solar system at the beginning of the 3rd century that was approved only in 16th century;
 Gregor Mendel who was the figurehead of the new science of genetics. The significance of Mendel’s work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century.
• Francis Bacon who guessed and  forestalled the theory of gravity;
• Robert Brown who first observed the movement of small particles in fluids that after one hundred  years was called the  Brownian motion.
• Leonardo da Vinci whose journals include a vast number of inventions. He invented hydraulic pumps, reversible crank mechanisms, finned mortar shells, and steam cannon.
Thomas Babington Macaulay stated: “If Luther was born in the 10th century he would not have initiated the Reformation”.

A great number of simultaneous and multiple independent or repeated   discoveries made in different countries ant times can also prove this theory.  Thus simultaneous discoveries are solution of fundamental problems that have been made at the same time  by several scientists working in different countries and continents, and repeated discoveries are perceived as independently made over a some period of time. The most famous examples of multiple independent discovery are:
• Independent formulation of calculus by Gottfried Leibniz,  Isaac Newton, and Isaac Barrow.
• The doctrine of probabilities dates both to Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat.
• The theory of conservation of energy was developed by James Prescott Joule and Robert von Mayer concurrently.
• A lot of theories developed by Robert Hooke and William Thomson were redeveloped later by other scientists.
• Non-Euclidean geometry was invented by Carl Friedrich Gauss aqnd Nikolai Lobachevsky.
• Oxygen was independently found by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1772, Joseph Priestley in 1775 and   Antoine Lavoisier in 1775. Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, the Dutch inventor of the first navigable submarine, was an innovator who contributed to the development of oxygen before them, in the 17th century.
• Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin are both best known for independently proposing a theory of evolution by natural selection.
• Thorium was first observed to be radioactive in 1898, independently, by Polish-French physicist Marie Curie and German chemist Gerhard Carl Schmidt.
• Boron was discovered by Humphry Davy and Joseph Gay-Lussac.
• Alexander Chizhevsky and Dmitry Anuchin formulated a theory of dependence of social crises on the peaks of solar activity.
• The theory of the noosphere was offered by Édouard Le Roy, Vladimir Vernadsky, and Teilhard de Chardin.
• Richard J. Roberts and Phillip A. Sharp won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their independed discovery of split genes in 1993.

This theory can also be proved by the cases of independent repeated inventing and manufacturing instruments. An invention of telescope is a good example of that. Thus there are some people associated with the invention of the telescope.
• In 1268 Roger Bacon first described optical instrument – spyglass.
• In 1509, Leonardo da Vinci made a drawing of two-lens telescope.
• In 1558 an Italian inventor Giovanni Batista della Porta gave a detailed description of the various uses of lenses in his book “Natural Magic”.
• In 1604 the Dutch instrument-maker Zacharias Janssen built a telescope similar to the model which, he said, came from Italy and was dated by 1590. At the same time his compatriot Jacob (sometimes James) Metius invented a telescope looking at the children who were playing with the lenses.
• Another Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey presented to the Netherlands States a tool for seeing at the distance on October, 2, 1608.
• In 1609, Galileo having heard about the achievements of one of the masters created the first telescope with a three-fold increase, and run it into production.
In 2008, during the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope in the Netherlands the fame for its invention was divided between Zacharias Janssen and Hans Lippershey.

Besides the following devices almost simultaneously were invented:
• In the 1870s, two inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both independently designed telephone -devices that could transmit speech electrically.
• Alexander Popov and Guglielmo Marconi who first sent and received radio signals in 1895 independently in Russia and in Italy.
• The invention of camera is connected with the names of Louis Daguerre (France) and William Fox Talbot (England) who presented their devices in 1839. However in 1826, French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce succeeded in making a first negative photographic image «View from the Window».
This theory is also considered geniuses to be the result of incredible coincidence or phenomenal play of chance. They are also considered to be lucky people, the minions of fortune, nature and gods.. A great variety of accidental discoveries can serve an evidence of that:
• America by Christopher Columbus;
• X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen;
• radiation by Antoine Becquerel;
• penicillin by Alexander Fleming;
• saccharin by Constantin Fahlberg;
• heating element of microwave was discovered by Percy Spencer.

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