Although you wouldn’t know it from the influence it had on his thinking, one of the little known facts is that Charles Darwin actually didn’t spend all that much time in the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands cover a rectangle of about 125 miles from North to South and about 175 miles from East to West with about 13 significant islands and many small ones. As I understand it, Charles was only there for several weeks. And, instead of a cruise ship making about 15-20 knots with a rubber dingy powered by a 48 horsepower outboard on a preplanned tour, he was in a boxy square rigged ship with a few oar powered boats for getting to the islands. I should also point out that at the equator there isn’t much wind, so it’s not like he was able to zip around from place to place, and he didn’t really have accurate charts of the area, so the captain of his ship probably had to proceed with due caution in getting around.
So, how was it that he was able to draw so many inferences during his short stay? The obvious answer is that like all of you, he brought a wealth of prior knowledge and experience to a chance opportunity to “put it all together.”
Like modern day Charles Darwin’s all of us are working out our very own “Transmutation of Species.” Instead of counting on huge numbers of young being born and those most suited to the current situation surviving, we work instead with a multiplicity of ideas. We try them out in various ways and under different circumstances and see which ones “survive.” As in nature, it is the volume of examples and the volume of testing that can really make the difference.
In our modern computerized world, no one should try or needs to live with only one version of their resume, cover letter or 90-second announcement. We need to “give birth” to a flood of variations that we can try out on “mother nature” or our friends and associates and see which ones survive. Sometimes the ideas we initially think will work best don’t, but if you keep trying to identify the reasons why some portions work better than others you will ultimately come up with more and more satisfactory solution sets.
We are fortunate that the “human animal” is highly adaptable. The survival skills we have acquired and nurtured over the course of our careers provide us the tools to add or lose “features” that make it possible to prosper in new situations. It doesn’t matter if we are penguins in the tropics or land iguanas stuck with drinking salt water.
The choice of surviving or not surviving is always an easy one to make.