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Charles Darwin's Regrets Have Inspired This Writer

Updated on March 5, 2012

Although Charles Darwin (1809-1882) has been dead for over a century, people are still interpreting, defending or criticizing his theories of evolution. However, other valuable lessons can be learned from the life he lived and applied to our present decade.

Darwin's mother died when he was eight years old. His three sisters raised him, and they constantly found fault with him. His father declared, "You care for nothing but dogs and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and your family."

Despite his family's negative expectations, Darwin became England's greatest biologist. Once he applied himself and studied a vocation he was interested in, he achieved far beyond what others predicted. His greatest work, "The Origin Of The Species By Means Of Natural Selection" was published in 1859.

However, few know of Darwin's regrets. In his personal biography he admitted he allowed those things which were important to him to be ignored or put off over a long period of time. For example, as a schoolboy he took intense delight in poetry, Shakespeare and historical plays. He loved pictures and music. But after age thirty he became engrossed in various collections of facts, and he got away from his enjoyments. Years later, when he tried to return to those interests, he found them intolerably dull. He discovered he had lost his taste for pictures or music. He felt the higher part of his brain had atrophied.

Darwin concluded if he had made it a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once or twice every week those parts of his brain would have been kept alive through use. He wrote, "The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness."

Perhaps Darwin shared his feelings in an autobiography with the hope that he could encourage those who later read his material to persistently feed their interests outside their jobs on a regular basis. Many use routine duties as an excuse for not exploring what they have a real curiosity or fondness for. Inside each of us lie dormant skills and talents that, to be developed, should be practiced on a regular basis.

For example, those who participate in extra hobbies and activities outside of work did not learn the skills or methods overnight. Champion race car drivers, bowlers, golfers and public speakers consistently practiced over and over again to become the experts they are today. The key to their achievements are the daily effort and passion put into learning all they could about what they love to do.

Although Charles Darwin managed to get his name placed in encyclopedias and published several successful works, he still concluded that if he had his life to live over again he would have made it a priority to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. Now, over one hundred years later, with today's hectic pace - balancing our lives between our jobs and our real interests - is an even greater challenge.

The best way to do this is to treat your interest like you do your regular job. You must show up. Simply begin. Once you rearrange your schedule to do what you have always wanted to do on a weekly or daily basis, your enthusiasm will grow, along with the satisfaction that your routine duties are no longer governing your life.

Whether or not the higher part of Darwin's brain atrophied, like he felt it had, who knows? I'm just not willing to take that chance by placing the things I love to do on a shelf, like he did, for several years.

Finally, I'm glad Charles Darwin shared his regrets in his autobiography because I never want to lose my passion for writing.

Blessings to all, Sincerely, Sparklea :)

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    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you Seeker7! SO MUCH appreciate your comments. I looked at your profile, full of sincerity. I, too, am a huge animal lover. I see alot of dog walkers on my walks, and I can tell their pets are so loved. My husband and I have four cats...one is a stray, the other an orphan...I brought home the other 2 from a pet store.

      Appreciate your comments on Darwin, yes he was definitely left brained. I think we all need to use our right brains or, as you said, we so miss out on wonderful parts of our world! Blessings to you, Sparklea :)

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      I have to admit to having a liking for Darwin. I like his mind and the way, especially in the days he lived, he allowed his mind to explore concepts and ideas out of the ordinary. But having said that it is sad when a fine mind such as his allows joys in life such as music to be pushed out by the continous pursuit of facts and figures.

      I often wonder if sometimes, some of today's scientists are far too left brained, with the result they are unable to perceive anything other than the physical surroundings about them? If so they are missing out on a wonderful, and just as real world, as the one of facts and figures.

      A very absorbing and interesting hub + voted up!

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      CJ Sledgehammer: Thank you for your comments! I have never been a fan of Darwin, but I do love to read stories about those who have made a name for themselves and passed on. I am always curious if they led peaceful lives in the midst of their notoriety. I personally believe that no matter how well-known and successful you are, if you don't have peace of mind, you have nothing. Jesus Christ living through me is peace of mind. He is the one I can always turn to for guidance no matter what. Yes, I agree Darwin was most certainly intelligent. But I do disagree with his theories. Thanks again from my heart for your feedback. Blessings, Sparklea :)

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      CJ Sledgehammer 5 years ago

      Well done, Sparklea!

      Perhaps Darwin's spirit atrophied as well.

      As the Apostle Paul stated in Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

      Seems to me Darwin's life was spent pursuing everything other than the things Paul discribed. And, as a result, untold millions of people have been led astray by the wicked ideas conjured by an intelligent, yet deranged mind.

      Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      glmclendon: Thank you for visiting my hub. I was surprised to learn that about Darwin also! Blessings, Sparklea

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Davesworld: THANK YOU so much for your comments. So much appreciated! Blessings, Sparklea

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      YogaKat THANK YOU for your comments. I have found reading about the lives of others and their regrets actually inspire me. I think everyone of us has the opportunity to learn from any errors we ourselves make, and to share it, at times, to help others. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Wow . . . awesome hub . . . now Darwin's regrets will inspire this writer as well. Thanks for sharing his thoughtful gem.

    • glmclendon profile image

      glmclendon 5 years ago

      I agree with you two Larry and Daves world. I had no idea Darwin had that type of leaning and two I never thought of him in this light.

      You did a good job on your research. and thanks for bringing it to light.

      Stay Well

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      I second Larry, I had no idea Darwin was so introspective. Thanks for opening me up to a side of the man I did not know.

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Larry Wall, I SO appreciate your feedback! Thank you from my heart. I love writing about other people on my hubs and looking for tidbits about them that I hope will inspire others. Blessings, Sparklea :)

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      Larry Wall 5 years ago

      Interesting account of Darwin that I never knew. I am familiar with his theory of evolution and have always thought that he jumped to conclusions about the development of man. Perhaps if he had read more poetry and listened to more music, he would had developed a better insight into the soul. Such insight could have possible changed his theory on evolution. Music, art, poetry must come from the soul--the undetectable part of each being that makes us who we are.

      Very good hub--I am looking forward to catching up on what you have written.