Friday, 30 September 2016

The Great Halloo

Tai.Up. III.x.5-6:
He who knows thus, attains after desisting from this world, this self made of food. After attaining this self made of food, then attaining this self made of mind, then attaining this self made of vital force, then attaining this self made of mind, then attaining this self made of intelligence, then attaining this self made of bliss, and roaming over these world with command over food at will and command over all forms at will, he continues singing this sama song: "Halloo! Halloo!Halloo! I am the food, I am the food; I am the eater; I am the unifier, I am the unifier, I am the unifier; I am (Hiranyagarbha) the first born of this world consisting of the formed and the formless, I as Virat) am earlier than the gods. I am the navel of immortality. He who offers me thus (as food), protects me just as I am. I, food as I am, eat him up who eats food without offering. I defeat (i.e. engulf) the entire universe. Our effulgence is like that of the sun. This is the Upanisad.

This indeed is the great 'Halloo' and world encompassing bliss. In Bangalore I met an Australian devotee of a teacher whose method of instruction was the progressive move through the koshas manomaya kosha, pranamaya kosha etc. as in the Upanisad.
cf. Kosha
I was brought to the teacher's house and there it was explained to me how he had come to this teaching. He had fallen ill of a fever and it seemed to him had left his body. (Stop me if you've heard this before.) In that sphere in which he now was he met the Septa Rishi (Seven Sages) who looked surprised to see him. What are you doing here, you're not supposed to be here for many years. We are going to send you back but with a teaching method that when it is transmitted to a suitable person and practiced faithfully for 15 minutes a day will definitely bring on a state of samadhi within a few years.

As an analogy for the progression through the koshas he offered the image of a series of airlocks in a space-ship. His own meditation space was behind a recess in a wall with a grill in front of it about 3'x3'. We talked outside it and there was a definite vibration of peace at that spot. That's totally subjective of course, just me projecting my own great 'halloo'.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Thousand Teachings (Upadesa Sahasri) by Sri Shankaracarya

Shankaracarya's Upadesa Sahasri/ A Thousand Teachings a work that is regarded as authentic and unique for him because it is not a commentary on any part of the triple canon i.e. Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutras or Upanishads; presents in its first chapter A Method of Enlightening the Disciple. (All quotations are from the translation by Swami Jagadananda published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai) Text at:
A Thousand Teachings

Both to give and to receive instruction require preconditions. On the side of the pupil who is typically taken to be
a pure Brahmana disciple who is indifferent to everything that is transitory and achievable through certain means, who has given up the desire for a son, for wealth and for this world and the next, who has adopted the life of a wandering monk and is endowed with control over the mind and senses, with compassion etc.,

The central requirement is "self-control and a tranquil mind" which is not gender or caste specific. Clearly knowledge of this kind is not simply a matter of the transmission of information. Distortions will occur if the moral base is not established.

When the teacher finds from signs that knowledge has not been grasped (or has been wrongly grasped) by the disciple, he should remove the causes of non-comprehension which are past and present sins, laxity, want of previous firm knowledge of what constitutes the subjects of discrimination between the eternal and the non-eternal, courting popular esteem, vanity of caste etc., and so on, (he should remove) through means contrary to those causes, enjoined by the Srutis and Smrtis viz. avoidance of anger etc., and the vows (Yama) consisting of non-injury etc., also the rules of conduct that are inconsistent with knowledge.

The great teachers who are liberated themselves, the sat-gurus, can nullify the occluding factors and bring a glimpse of the truth even to the unworthy. Simply to be in their presence is enough. Other teachers not quite at that level must have
the power of furnishing arguments pro and con, of understanding questions and remembering them, who possesses tranquillity, self-control, compassion and a desire to help others, who is versed in the scriptures and unattached to enjoyments both seen and unseen, who has renounced the means to all kinds of actions, is a knower of Brahman and established in It, is never a transgressor of the rules of conduct , and who is devoid of shortcomings such as ostentation, pride, deceit, cunning, jugglery, jealousy, falsehood, egotism and attachment.

In the traditional way there is an order of business once the moral bases of both teacher and pupil are well founded. The scriptural texts which summarise the highest teaching are sown like seeds on well plowed and harrowed ground. "All this is but the Self", "All this is verily Brahman". The definition of Brahman comes next - "It is the seer Itself unseen", "Existence, Knowledge, Infinite". The texts from the scriptures on this topic are multitudinous.

This is the traditional foundation for a rational inquiry. Of that more anon.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Interdining in America

Daniel Kaufman writes:
Yet this is precisely what the hardest moral dilemmas involve: not figuring out which action will serve a lone already-established value, but which value, among many, should be served.  Is utility most important in this situation?  Respect?  Gratitude?  And it is for this reason that those who are in the grip of a moral theory behave so poorly on so many occasions.  The Utilitarian vegan, who upon finding himself at an ordinary dinner party refuses to eat the food, acts wrongly not just because he fails to recognize any value other than utility, but because that failure cripples his capacity to engage in sound practical reasoning and to decide among competing values: he is unable to properly navigate the moral demands of his situation, for he can’t see that the effects of his actions on the general welfare, under these circumstances, are negligible, the insult to his host and the disregard for his efforts are substantial, and the overall affect that characterizes his behavior is boorish and uncouth and is in fact made worse, not better, by his philosophic rationalizations.
(from ;
Going by Aristotle’s dictum that :
these things are both valuable and pleasant which are such to the good man; and to each man the activity in accordance with his own state is most desirable, and therefore to the good man that which is in accordance with virtue.

Putting the good man in the capacity of host it is apposite to consider whether offering a vegan food which he does not wish to eat is the mark of a good host. Is it not the business of a good host to find out the food preferences of his guests. That is hardly onerous and merely good manners. You do not offer the imam pork chops or a Hindu beef curry. The vegan might also inform the host that they are such - by the way I’m a vegan/vegetarian; Is that a problem?

The other odd food story Kaufman offers is:

Yes, sometimes the right thing to do *is* to suffer something disgusting, out of respect and caring for one’s host. A friend of mine was teaching English in a rural village in China, and he was invited to the home of one of the students for dinner. He was served a plate of Cicadas, of which the hosts were exceedingly proud — and which, apparently, cost a great deal, relative to their income. He said it was absolutely revolting and yet he ate it anyway, precisely because of the circumstances he was in and the people who were hosting him.

Are there any Chinese who don’t know that Westerners don’t eat insects? (and cats and dogs)) I suspect mischief. Was he being a good host in not making inquiries as to what Westerners like?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Nisargadatta on Samadhi (from I am That)

Matter is Consciousness Itself:
Maharaj: Everything moves according to its nature. ... Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutraliszes the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

"Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Maharaj is not bound by the maya of identification with a physical body. "I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other, each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all."

"The most difficult are the intellectuals. They talk a lot, but are not serious."

How to go into Samadhi:

"If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi. After all samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest - the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi."
Questioner: Are you always in a state of samadhi?
Maharaj: Of course not. Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience, even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer; whatever I touch dissolves into void (akash).
Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.
M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act: give it a chance to prove itself. With some realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

John Banville's review of Canales' book on the Bergson- Einstein debate on the nature of time

But who now reads Bergson apart from a few lonely specialists? He is remembered by Proust scholars - Proust was Bergson's cousin-in-law, and the best man at his wedding - since a la recherche du temps perdu was said to have been influenced by Bergson's theory of time. But very few contemporary philosophers consider him of any importance, and it would be rare schoolboy nowadays who would know his name.
(from John Banville's review (What do clocks have to do with it?)of The Physicist and the Philosopher by Jimena Canales in The London Review of Books pub.24/7/16)

Of course John that would be the case, inasmuch as the best way not to remember the work of any thinker is never to have read his work. That makes forgetting effortless. Bergson was dismissive of Einstein's view of time regarding it as merely the time of timetables. That was not a wise move rhetorically. The time of Bergson was evolutionary and personal. For Einstein a la Bergson it was a series of instants with gaps that could be elongated as in The Twins Paradox.

Banville's review was worth reading. He is interested in philosophy though he never read it in University never having been there which unusual in a major modern writer. He is much more than the average igger (intelligent general reader) but inevitably nudged by the prevailing scientistic ambience which pits vague dreams and speculation against hard measurable facts.

Bergson was seeking above all to assert the human dimension of experience, the validity of our intuitive sense that the world can be measured not only against scientific fact but also by way of our actions, thoughts, emotions. Einstein, more hard-headed, or at least wedded to a hard-headed interpretation of reality, preferred to put his trust in the empirical certainties, as he saw them , that science offered.
(Banville's review)

Yes true, sort of, with the qualification that Duration is the primary lived experience that gives rise to the concept of time and that the mathematization of time and space or space/time is the source of the scientific theory. This is Bergson's real point so to a degree in that debate in 1922 they were talking past each other.

At some point I may have to read Canales' work. Her special interest as a physicist is in time and measurement. Banville writes:

The Physicist and the Philosopher is an extraordinarily rich and wide-ranging work. Canales has rescued from near oblivion a fascinating , highly significant debate that is still relevant in an age which has begun to question the hegemony of science, and its uncontrollable child, technology.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Filial Piety

Consuming Justin Erik Halldor Smith’s philosophical doughnuts when I find them I feel like the twin on earth getting much, much, older. His latest post as a memorial to his father was different.
a life
A picaresque life without the native irascibility that makes you get down to things seems to cover its climate. There are several extracts from his father’s writing written in that breezy diction which is the hallmark of inconsequential journalism but the appalling thing is that as J.E.H. got further down in his piece that same diction began to manifest in his own writing. That dear reader is frightening. Can we slip our ancestral gravity by re-locating to France or Spain or India?

My father never went in for rhetorical questions. We respected each other by observing a decent manly reticence. Mum’s the word, Dad’s the word.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Johnson and Montaigne on Secrets

Samuel Johnson refers to Michel de Montaigne in Essay no 13 of The Rambler. May 1st. 1750. In an aside on the keeping and the telling of the secrets of others entrusted to one he writes:

There have, indeed, been some enthusiastick and irrational zealots for friendship, who have maintained, and perhaps believed, that one friend has a right to all that is in possession of another; and that therefore it is a violation of kindness to exempt any secret from this boundless confidence. Accordingly a late female minister of state has been shameless enough to inform the world, that she used, when she wanted to extract any thing from her sovereign, to remind her of Montaigne's reasoning, who has determined, that to tell a secret to a friend is no breach of fidelity, because the number of persons trusted is not multiplied, a man and his friend being virtually the same.
That such a fallacy could be imposed upon any human understanding, or that an author could have advanced a position so remote from truth and reason, any otherwise than as a declaimer, to shew to what extent he could stretch his imagination, and with what strength he could press his principle, would scarcely have been credible, had not this lady kindly shewn us how far weakness may be deluded, or indolence amused.

I am, with Johnson, against Montaigne's airy man of the world sharing and my own way with the secrets of others is to forget them as quickly as possible. Am I an abyss of discretion? I am not at liberty to disclose but I will say this... No better not. Have you ever met friends of a friend that you haven't met before and sensed the presence of forward intelligence that may not be altogether benign. They being forewarned and forearmed creates a blockade. Is this just paranoia? The common rationalisation that not gossiping is a sign of a lack of interest in people is destructive of friendship and you can be certain that you too will be served as a piquant dip.

The rules therefore that I shall propose concerning secrecy, and from which I think it not safe to deviate, without long and exact deliberation, are—Never to solicit the knowledge of a secret. Not willingly, nor without many limitations, to accept such confidence when it is offered. When a secret is once admitted, to consider the trust as of a very high nature, important as society, and sacred as truth, and therefore not to be violated for any incidental convenience, or slight appearance of contrary fitness.

I am taking two shots of The Rambler every day and besides the grandiloquence of the stately periods, his profound moral sense and seriousness blended with a realisation of personal fallibility does me good.

Addendum: As I suspected the Montaigne essay that Johnson refers to is De L’Amitie or On Friendship or by Screech On Affectionate Relationships

If one (of two friends) entrusted to your silence something which it was useful for the other to know, how would you get out of that? The unique, highest friendship loosens all other bonds. That secret which I have sworn to reveal to no other, I can reveal without perjury to him who is not another: he is me. It is a great enough miracle for oneself to be redoubled: they do not realize how high a one it is when they talk of its being tripled.
(Screech trans.)

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sheehan's Apologetics (Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine)

The book generally known as Sheehan’s Apologetics was the standard issue for Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland for the study of Christian Doctrine. Archbishop Sheehan (Coadjutor Sydney) (1870
-1947) was a noted scholar of the Irish Language and had studied Latin, Greek and Sanskrit in Germany and taken his Phd. at Bonn writing on Isocrates. (in Latin)
Sheehan Wikipedia
Given all that and assuming his acquaintance with historical criticism and other German novelties his treatment of Darwinism and Evolutionism is extremely odd and reading it now one is reminded of the wilder shores of Bible Belt Evangelicalism.

After ten pages with extensive footnotes eg. Has Evolution taken place, remarks on the evidence, alleged causes:
Nor, as we shall see presently, have evolutionists succeeded
in discovering any natural cause which could have produced large scale evolution.
He disputes those alleged causes and offers the bolded heading: Evolution not Proved Scientifically but Useful as a Working Hypothesis.

For his final paragraph he offers 10 lines -(heading) If Evolution has occurred it is the work of God.Fine but why impugn the science which you don’t understand and lead others down an irrelevant cul de sac. There seems a lack of due epistemic modesty. On the charitable interpretation and from a rhetorical point of view which is suggested by his interest in Isocrates , Sheehan knowing that Darwinism as commonly presented has a corrosive effect on the sentiment of religion, would be justified in deflecting an interest in it.

On reflection it is a belief in the literal truth of the bible that guides his opposition to evolution.

The Church teaches that God built up the body of Eve from a portion of matter which he took from the body of Adam. So far, no interpretation of this teaching has been offered which would allow us to ascribe the origin of her body to evolution. And if evolution must be excluded in her case, it must be excluded also in the case of Adam.

At the end of that chapter he remarks:
The age of the human species is a question on which the Church has never given any decision, and may be left to the investigation of scientists.

It may, perhaps, be worth noting that the Church has never condemned the opinion, which was proposed centuries ago, that a race of men lived on the earth, but became extinct, before the creation of Adam.

Sheehan believed that myth can contradict science. Myth as I understand it is a symbolic representation of metaphysical reality. It draws us into relationship with it.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Rambler: Buchhandlung Suggestions

I bought for €15 a 2 vol. edn. 1877 of The Rambler by Samuel Johnson published by William Tegg ,Cheapside; cloth with gilding in the best Victorian gentleman’s library way. (condition good, slight foxing)Tegg was a pal of Dickens in his early days so as a suggestion to Myles’s Buchhandlung Service I would respectfully recommend a steel nib inscription: ‘As a break from ‘little D.’ best Bill - don’t forget lunch on the 30th.’ A Henry Irving play flyer as a book mark would complete the provenance. Expensive but worth it.

Yes, this question of book-handling. The other day I had a word to say about the necessity for the professional book-handler, a person who will maul the books of illiterate, but wealthy, upstarts so that the books will look as if they have been read and re-read by their owners. How many uses of mauling would there be? Without giving the matter much thought, I should say four. Supposing an experienced handler is asked to quote for the handling of one shelf of books four feet in length. He would quote thus under four heads:--
'Popular Handling--Each volume to be well and truly handled, four leaves in each to be dog-eared, and a tram ticket, cloak-room docket or other comparable article inserted in each as a forgotten book-mark. Say, £1 7s 6d. Five per cent discount for civil servants.'
'Premier Handling-Each volume to be thoroughly handled, eight leaves in each to be dog-eared, a suitable passage in not less than 25 volumes to be underlined in red pencil, and a leaflet in French on the works of Victor Hugo to be inserted as a forgotten book-mark in each. Say, £2 17s 6d. Five per cent discount for literary university students, civil servants and lady social workers.'
buchhandlung service

What I am suggesting verges on Le Traitment Superbe meretricious nay vulgar withal but with gilt que voulez-vous?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Hope on Earth: A Conversation by Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias

No matter how often history has falsified the predictions that are made by some big brains they still keep repeating them which is why the cover of the free e-book from the University of Chicago Press is appropriate. A certain amount of methane is generated in the conversation between Michael Tobias and Paul Ehrlich, not enough to threaten the planet, but certainly enough to clear a room. The Wikipedia entry on Arch-Doomster Ehrlich sketches his history of being wrong about everything and his vile recipes for avoiding certain disaster. England would no longer be in existence by 1970 possibly being overrun by ravening feral chavs.
cf: Wikipedia on Ehrlich

The University of Chicago recently issued a bulletin impugning the notion of the safe space to protect the delicate sensibilities of students. The cold hard wind of contrary opinion would blow to toughen them up -‘That’s the Chicago Way’ (The Untouchables) And now this book. Is there a conservative mole in the University? The blurb runs after this fashion:

Hope on Earth is the thought-provoking result of a lively and wide-ranging conversation between two of the world’s leading interdisciplinary environmental scientists: Paul R. Ehrlich, whose book The Population Bomb shook the world in 1968 (and continues to shake it), and Michael Charles Tobias, whose over 40 books and 150 films have been read and/or viewed throughout the world. Hope on Earth offers a rare opportunity to listen in as these deeply knowledgeable and highly creative thinkers offer their takes on the most pressing environmental concerns of the moment.

When a university press blurb writer very likely steeped in a stiff brine of Rhetoric and Composition uses a phrase like ‘shook the world’ it doesn’t need quotes like I used to mark it off as irony. Adding ‘and continues to shake it’, the unsaid must be, ‘with laughter’.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Leslie Stephen and the 'Topic Sentence'.

Skholiast comments:
I have forgotten now which collection of L.S. (Leslie Stephen) it was that I was reading, but I realized I was completely charmed by the style and had not absorbed so much as a sentence of the content, and had to start over. Not that he is the greatest of writers. But I had been reading a steady diet of 20th c exposition, and in contrast, Lo, here was a paragraph which wended this way and that for line upon line until somewhere towards the end the language finally got to where the thought might be beginning. Not a "topic sentence" in sight. In short, ladies and gentlemen -- the Victorians.

Confession: I had to look up wikipedia to find out what a ‘topic sentence’ was. Doesn’t the firmness, definiteness, the nailing down of that concept work against the true nature of the essay. In that form ‘doing is the mother of doing’ (Samuel Johnson); each thought leads to another in an associative way. What is opened up is not a position but the many mansions of the writer’s mind. Now that I’ve found a readable translation by Screech of Montaigne’s Essays I realise that Michel rambles. He uses his Latin topoi to collect himself and ask 'where am I now, let me consult my map’. Johnson was the proto-Rambler and set down his grandiloquent projection with cherubs blowing and dragons breathing fire. The point is not to get anywhere but to know better where we are.

The task of an author is, either to teach what is not known, or to recommend known truths by his manner of adorning them; either to let new light in upon the mind, and open new scenes to the prospect, or to vary the dress and situation of common objects, so as to give them fresh grace and more powerful attractions, to spread such flowers over the regions through which the intellect has already made its progress, as may tempt it to return, and take a second view of things hastily passed over, or negligently regarded.
(from The Rambler No.3, Tuesday, March 27, 1750)

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Detail

If you want to create the feeling of a place or a time then the best way to start is by the close observation of some detail. How was it made? My spell checker predicted madeleine and that was prescient. One could write a novel being led into a plot by such predictions. Stately plumage of Mulligan about to be shorn. Downy gossamer of ancients swept up by the barber's son shifts on the floor as the door opens. 'Oh' was all he had time to say.

What I mean is that a detail can be not just a portal but also the Aleph or the single point from which all other points in the universe are visible. Borges has written about it. It is also the Colridgean protophenomenon, the one fact that is worth a thousand and that first makes those facts. Is S.T.C. suggesting that an experience demarcates itself and becomes a Platonic form for all other subsequent ones. The detail then can be formal, a particular that creates the universal but then somehow that initial event is forgotten and only the formal remains.

If I came to the bed where you lay sick and in fever,
I would not come with little tight-fisted flowers
But with the white heron's plume that lay in the forest
Till it was cooler than sleep.

(from Bk.Six: John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benet)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Essays on Freethinking and Plainspeaking by Leslie Stephen (1873)

Darwinism and Divinity. (Essay)
What Stephen has to say about the challenge of Darwinism to Christianity is not substantially different from many agnostic moderns. I speak of the more sophisticated nay sayers who turn up regularly at the Opininator of the New York Times. Savour this piquant mythopoetic analysis of religion:

One would say at first sight that religion is no more likely to leave the world because we have new views as to the mode in which the world began, than poetry to vanish as soon as we have ceased to believe in the historical accuracy of the siege of Troy. Man pos-
sesses certain spiritual organs, whose function it is to produce religion. Religion could only be destroyed by removing the organs, and not by supplying them with slightly different food.

For spiritual organs instert God Neurons to make it current. Is there any truth in this view? Squint at it sideways and talk about Sanathana (Eternal) Dharma and the nature of consciousness itself and you will be ghostly met as The Cloud of Unknowing might say with a sly smile because you have taken the bait. Stephen's M.O. is to unpack your innocent acceptance. Let us see how he does it.

He mentions an argument for the necessity of the infusion of a rational soul into the hominid which is still current:

It is substantially an attempt to prove that the gap between the brute and the human mind is so wide that we cannot imagine it to be filled up by any continuous series. It is argued at great length that instinct differs from reason not in degree but in kind, or that brutes do not possess even the rudiments of what we call a moral sense.

He spoils his defence of dogs as bearers of rudimentary consciousness with:
Certainly no beast has framed an abstract conception of duty. Neither, it is said, have some savages risen to that idea.

He may be right about the possibility of a gradual ascension to self awareness but his way of putting it is classical racism:
We may thus proceed by perfectly imperceptible stages, and in the course of three or four thousand generations we shall get a man-monkey fully equal in intelligence to the average Hottentot.

He insists that materialism is dead and to confute it is to slay the slain. One may as well impugn the 'all is fire' manifesto of Heraclitus. He finds it a degrading turn. It is not clear why. Materialism may have been a killer objection for the Victorians much as racism is in our time.

He likens the Theory of Evolution to the startling knowledge that the universe was very large as was the world and the numbers of Christians as compared to heathens very small.
The recognition of these two facts, that there were millions of heathens, and that the universe was a very large place, really upset the old theology.

That of course is nonsense. The challenge was to convert all nations and they were well aware that was in sporting terms 'a big ask'.

He mentions the Catholic Church which possibly to his chagrin was not caught out in denial of the science behind Darwinism:
It is permissible, it appears, I for orthodox Catholics to hold that the series of facts alleged by Mr. Darwin actually occurred, I and that the ape changed by slow degrees into the man; only they miist save themselves by calling the process miraculous, and thus, for a time at least, the old theory may be preserved.
No doubt there were Jesuit prevaricators behind this 'cute move. Which reminds him - Cardinal Newman and his asserted obviousness of the priority of conscience in the development of the human mind and the sense of sacrifice as atonement being primal.

Stephen makes the valid point that when anthropological data is required Christianity is glad to use other religions it but will in other respects discount them. Well it would do is the answer to that, true in some respect does not imply that it might be true in all respects.

Here is an early adaptation of the anti-teleological view that Darwinism is taken to espouse.
For Darwinism is, in fact, the scientific embodiment of that attack upon final causes which was already explicitly set forth by Spinoza, and which animated some of Hume's keenest logic.

we confine ourselves to remarking that the development of eyes is part of the great process of the adaptation of the organism to its medium.
Is not this quest for knowledge of the environment part of the general goal, an end, a telos?
He mentions a problem for religion even of the anemic sort that Stephen would accept:
Does not the new theory make it difficult to believe in immortal souls? If we admit that the difference between men and monkeys is merely a difference of degree, can we continue to hold that monkeys will disappear at their death like a bubble, and that men will rise from their ashes?
One doubts that he would be much impressed by Indian theories of transmigration. Nothing would lessen the disdain he had for religion which is a curious fact given that those that he was reared amongst are taken to be examples of the benign power of religion in society. Would the slave trade have been abolished in a peaceful manner in the British Empire without them when one considers that it took bloody war to do so in America?

He gets distracted from his consideration of the impact of Darwinism on religion by the opportunity to insist that the belief in immortality buttresses the higher impulses of our nature and it is from those impulses that it draws its strength rather than from metaphysical arguments purporting to found immortality as a rational belief.

In his summing up:
But we may be sure that it (the new doctrine of Darwinism) will not take root till in some shape or other it has provided the necessary envelopes for the deepest instincts of our nature. If Darwinism demonstrates that men have been evolved out of brutes, the religion which takes it into account will also have to help men to bear in mind that they are now different from brutes.