Quote from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation To Sex by Charles Darwin (1871)

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

Check out the *big brain* on Brett-!

Check out the *big brain* on Brett-!!! (note: Pulp Fiction quote. Movie humour.)

Charles Darwin writes:

`…the intellect must have been all-important to [humankind] even at a very remote period, as enabling him to invent and use language, to make weapons, tools, traps, etc., whereby with the aid of his social habits he long ago became the most dominant of all living creatures… the continued use of language will have reacted on the brain and produced an inherited effect; and this again will have reacted on the improvement of language…

The development of the moral qualities is a more interesting problem. The foundation lies in the social instincts, including under this term the family ties. These instincts are highly complex, and in the case of the lower animals give special tendencies towards certain definite actions; but the more important elements are love, and the distinct emotion of sympathy.

Animals endowed with the social instincts take pleasure in one another’s company, warn one another of danger, defend and aid one another in many ways.

These instincts do not extend to all the individuals of the species, but only to those of the same community. As they are highly beneficial to the species, they have in all probability been acquired through natural selection.’

(Darwin in Boyd, Carroll & Gottschall 2010, p. 77)


If you want more on that `evolution of morals’ stuff, then for example, see Hierarchy In The Forest:

This is why most of the top 20 RoI films are about some villain (some bully, who is trying for social dominance) and people (protagonists) trying to take them down.

The Top 20 RoI Films - StoryAlity Theory (Velikovsky 2013)

The Top 20 RoI Films – StoryAlity Theory (Velikovsky 2013)

Note: Interestingly, these top 20 RoI movies tend to be `villain triumphant’ stories. Or, more or less. the villain usually wins

And – here is a short video on `What Is Natural Selection?’

Fun fact: In The Descent of Man, Darwin mentions “love” 95 times, and “survival of the fittest”, only twice.

Here is an excerpt from: The Darwin Project – by Dr David Loye.

`Darwin was a mild and genial man whose rage seldom flared. But when it did it was said to be like the lightning bolt and rolling thunder of a storm at sea.

You may gauge for yourselves the explosion by knowing something of the degree to which we have been– in plain, old, down-to-earth American terms– snookered and bamboozled for over a century.

For what Darwin actually believed — and, as we are to see in this book, wrote out at length — has been twisted by a century of economic, political, and scientific “business as usual” to lock in the exact opposite of his original intention.

H.M.S. Beagle

Today the focus is mainly on Darwin’s Origin of Species. But in the 828 page sequel in which he tells us he will now deal with human evolution,The Descent of Man, Darwin writes only twice of “survival of the fittest,” but 95 times of love.

He writes of selfishness 12 times, but 92 times of moral sensitivity.

Of competition 9 times, but 24 times of mutuality and mutual aid.

And of what so often everywhere today seems to be missing in global political, economic, and religious leadership — that is, of mind and brain he writes 200 times.

What lies behind these word counts?

H.M.S. Beagle


Go behind them and you find this mind-boggling fact. While most of his scientific successors still remain bogged down in what has become the status quo and regressive science of where Darwin was 150 years ago, the man himself — as in this book we are to see–actually went on in Descent to leap 100 years and more into the future to write of where the most advanced, i.e., progressive, science is today.

What eventually comes across, however, is beyond mind-boggling.

It is the awesome, lumbering , howling, and dumbfounding possibility that we’ve lost a century and endangered the future of our species because Darwin’s voice was cut off and silenced at the mid point.

H.M.S. Beagle

(L0ye also writes: )

Long before I put in the long years to become a psychologist, systems scientist and evolution theorist myself, I was a journalist and investigative reporter.

I was, in fact, one of the earliest handful of television newsmen who set out after World War II inspired by the tradition of getting at the “story behind the story” being established by the great Edward R. Murrow.

I was there during the swaggering years of Senator Joe McCarthy, whose expose in a television special by Murrow was the boldest and most effective in ending McCarthy’s reign of terror.

On a much smaller scale, I did the kind of “on the road” feature Charles Kuralt later became famous for.

One of the main things a good journalist learns early on is to question the word of authority.

No matter who says it, double-check it. Nose around behind the scenes for what others are saying. Put it all together and come up with the real story.

H.M.S. Beagle

This book is about what I found out about the real Darwin.

It is about the rest of the “fully human” theory of evolution he set out to construct almost wholly lost to us now for over 100 years.

It is about how this “top half” for his theory was buried, the cataclysmic consequences of this loss, and — rising out of the smothering clasp of status quo science and against the drag of regressive science –it is about the hopeful new progressive science that corroborates and advances the enduring majesty of Darwin’s full original vision.

Beyond the neo-Darwinism that has imprisoned our species for a century, it is about postDarwinian or holoDarwinian theory and story and greater mind.

(`The Darwin Project ‘- Loye, online)

Also here is an excellent evolution reading list from Dr David Loye’s site.

As an aside, I have written a play about Charles Darwin’s historic visit to Bathurst, NSW, Australia., Darwin Down Under.

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

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

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

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

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. (1871). The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. New York: D. Appleton and company.

Loye, D, The Darwin Project, online (accessed 30th April 2016).

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.


4 thoughts on “StoryAlity #79 – These instincts are highly complex (Charles Darwin)

  1. Pingback: StoryAlity#70E – Models of Human Nature – and Ev Psych | StoryAlity

  2. Pingback: StoryAlity #81 – `Human Universals’ (Donald Brown) and EO Wilson on sociobiology | StoryAlity

  3. Pingback: StoryAlity #82 – Pinker on `Evolution and Explanation’ | StoryAlity

  4. Pingback: StoryAlity#137 – Culturology & the CES (Cultural Evolution Society) | StoryAlity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.