Today is Charles Darwin’s birthday, and a welcome excuse for me to restart my very short sequel of Darwin quotes.
Keeping in mind that Valentine’s day is lurking round the corner, I have decided that while others celebrate Darwin’s memory by remembering his fondness for beetles or his contributions to ecology, I want to remind ourselves that a brilliant mind like Darwin’s may apply scientific rigor to any situation of life, including love.
As evidence, let’s take the question of marriage – a lesser scientist might have approached this question with emotion and gut feeling, but Darwin, maybe aware of potential bias of intuitive decision-making, forced himself to formalize pros and cons before committing himself eternally, or at least till death do them part. Lucky for us, these notes have been preserved, so that we can all profit from his thoughts. It is available in full on the website of the Darwin Correspondence Project. Emphasis is mine.
(& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one,—
object to be beloved & played with.— —better than a
dog anyhow.— Home, & someone to take care of
house— Charms of music & female chit-chat.— These
things good for one’s health.— but terrible loss of
My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones
whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, &
nothing after all.— No, no won’t do.— Imagine living
all one’s day solitarily in smoky dirty London House.—
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with
good fire, & books & music perhaps— Compare this
vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ St.