Quote from On The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin (1859)

This is from a chapter in Evolution, Literature, Film: A Reader (2010).

A man entangled in his own fishing-line on a riverbank

A man entangled in his own fishing-line on a riverbank

`It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of any kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.’

(Darwin in Boyd, Carroll & Gottschall 2010, p. 54)

The evolutionary algorithm: Selection, Variation, Transmission.

Transmedia as Destiny 5

Another set of laws is the laws of holarchies.

Transmedia as Destiny 3

Lifeforms compete with each other. Films compete with each other in culture. Ideas compete for our attention.

Transmedia as Destiny 7


Holarchy of The Organism

The film industry is a pretty `tangled’ bank:

Figure 1: A holarchy within the film domain Analysis: JT Velikovsky

A holarchy within the film domain
Analysis: JT Velikovsky

Holarchy of film

Holarchy of film

And for more detail on the evolutionary systems (or, complexity) view of narrative and bioculture in general, see this chapter:

StoryAlity #132The holon/parton structure of the Meme, the unit of culture – and the narreme, or unit of story – book chapter (Velikovsky 2016)

Also here is a short video on `What Is Evolution’?

Also here is a great article about / interview with, Lynn Margulis and endosymbiosis theory..

And my favourite quote from it:

`For more than a billion years, the only life on this planet consisted of bacterial cells, which, lacking nuclei, are called prokaryotes, or prokaryotic cells. They looked very much alike, and from the human-centered vantage point seem boring.

However, bacteria are the source of reproduction, photosynthesis, movement — indeed, all interesting features of life except perhaps speech! They’re still with us in large diversity and numbers. They still rule Earth.

At some point, a new more complex kind of cell appeared on the scene, the eukaryotic cell, of which plant and animal bodies are composed. These cells contain certain organelles, including nuclei. Eukaryotic cells with an individuated nucleus are the building blocks of all familiar large forms of life.

How did that evolution revolution occur? How did the eukaryotic cell appear? Probably it was an invasion of predators, at the outset. It may have started when one sort of squirming bacterium invaded another — seeking food, of course. But certain invasions evolved into truces; associations once ferocious became benign. When swimming bacterial would-be invaders took up residence inside their sluggish hosts, this joining of forces created a new whole that was, in effect, far greater than the sum of its parts: faster swimmers capable of moving large numbers of genes evolved.

Some of these newcomers were uniquely competent in the evolutionary struggle. Further bacterial associations were added on, as the modern cell evolved.

One kind of evidence in favor of symbiogenesis in cell origins is mitochondria, the organelles inside most eukaryotic cells, which have their own separate DNA. In addition to the nuclear DNA, which is the human genome, each of us also has mitochondrial DNA. Our mitochondria, a completely different lineage, are inherited only from our mothers. None of our mitochondrial DNA comes from our fathers. Thus, in every fungus, animal, or plant (and in most protoctists), at least two distinct genealogies exist side by side. That, in itself, is a clue that at some point these organelles were distinct microorganisms that joined forces…


…I think an understanding of the extent to which the evolutionary origin involved symbiogenesis must be acknowledged. Such acknowledgment will lead to new awareness of the physical basis of thought. Thought and behavior in people are rendered far less mysterious when we realize that choice and sensitivity are already exquisitely developed in the microbial cells that became our ancestors. Even philosophers will be inspired to learn about motility proteins. Scientists and nonscientists will be motivated to learn enough chemistry, microbiology, evolutionary biology, and paleontology to understand the relevance of these fields to the deep questions they pose.

My primary work has always been in cell evolution, yet for a long time I’ve been associated with James Lovelock and his Gaia hypothesis.’

(Margulis 2011, online)

And for an excellent new article on all this, see:

Gontier, N. (2016) Symbiogenesis, History of. In: Kliman, R.M. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology. vol.4, pp. 261–271. Oxford: Academic Press.

And – for a consilience & creativity & evolution reading list, see:

StoryAlity #71On Consilience in the Arts / Humanities / Communication

And here is a rather odd but fascinating documentary by Peter Greenaway about Darwin.

Comments always welcome.


JT Velikovsky

High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher

The above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/



Boyd, B., Carroll, J., & Gottschall, J. (2010). Evolution, Literature and Film: A Reader. New York: Columbia University Press.

Darwin, C. (1859). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life. London,: J. Murray.

Gontier, N. (2016) `Symbiogenesis, History of.’ In: Kliman, R.M. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology. vol.4, pp. 261–271. Oxford: Academic Press.

Velikovsky, J. T. (2016). `The Holon/Parton Theory of the Unit of Culture (or the Meme, and Narreme): In Science, Media, Entertainment and the Arts.‘ In A. Connor & S. Marks (Eds.), Creative Technologies for Multidisciplinary Applications. New York: IGI Global.

6 thoughts on “StoryAlity #78 – `The war of nature’ (Charles Darwin)

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