Music is more than its notes: A hand-written score by J.S Bach of the beginning of the Prelude from the Suite for Lute in G minor
Evolution describes a linear progression from the amino acid to man of inevitable increasing complexity based primarily on the laws of physics, the necessary behaviour of electrons and atomic nuclear particles contacting each other under varying conditions of temperature and pressure. Chance does not come into it. The physical world is determined by a few constants present when the singularity of infinite density and no volume happened (the value of π, Planck's constant, the speed of light, etc). Since the creation of the proton it all flowed. The inevitable progression, which is quantitative, would be predictable if all the variables involved were known. Is a human being only a quantitative extension alone from amino acids? Or is a human being in his totality a qualitative change from that line?
By qualitative is meant that change which cannot be achieved by quantitative extrapolation alone. This question, if solved, will be the next great idea, an idea bigger than evolution. Is man a progression without quantity, a qualitation? Since the question is qualitative and not quantitative, the answer will be qualitative. Rejection of the hypothesis will be based upon intellectual balance and insight. The answer will not be capable of judgment by statistics as the quantitative answer is. But it will be more important since it will affect human behaviour in a way that the idea of evolution does not. Deciding whether man is the most complex of all molecular machines or whether he is qualitatively different from all other quantitative products of evolution will determine future laws, politics, ethics and social behaviour and cultural policy. If we are machines, then what is guilt?
If man were a qualitative jump off the quantitative progression of evolution, then what was the first quality? Perhaps it was freedom, and the conscious recognition of this freedom. For we are free, we consciously behave as if we were free. If we are not, all is meaningless. Chimpanzees share our genes, but there is no evidence that they are free. If freedom were the first qualitation, then what caused freedom? Was there a principle, a thing that is the cause of freedom? Is this principle the qualitation? Did it arise as a consequence of increasing biological complexity? A Cambridge man told me: "If you can't do an experiment on it, it doesn't exist." This is a very limited view of reality that denies the abstract. Since his wife was present, I did not ask him if he experimented on his love for her. Or perhaps he thought love was only a series of molecular responses related to preserving the gene, in which case his existence is diminished.
Abstract thought is that which distinguishes human beings from chimpanzees. It is the ability to take two ideas like nation and respect and produce a third which is not one of the previous two and itself is abstract, like patriotism. Then man is free to act or not on patriotism. It is the basis of all human culture. It is the richness of existence. To act as though man could have abstract thought is the only way to act that extrapolates man to the infinite, expanding him to a new world of limitless fulfilment. It reorients him from an immeasurably small group of particles and charges in an inconsolably large space to an abstract principle that is qualitatively different from the rest of the universe.