Mimicry and Camouflage: Is it Natural Selection?


“Every form, we are told, is built in accordance with the model traced for it in the Eternity and reflected in the DIVINE MIND. There are hierarchies of “Builders of form,” and series of forms and degrees, from the highest to the lowest. While the former are shaped under the guidance of the “Builders,” the gods, “Cosmocratores;” the latter are fashioned by the Elementals or Nature Spirits. As an example of this, look at the strange insects and at some reptiles and non-vertebrate creatures, which so closely imitate, not only in their colour but by their outward shape, leaves, flowers, moss-covered branches and other so-called “inanimate” things. Shall we take “natural selection” and the explanations of Darwinists as a solution? I trust not. The theory of natural selection is not only utterly inadequate to explain this mysterious faculty of imitation in the realm of being, but gives also an entirely false conception of the importance of such imitative faculty, as a “potent weapon in the struggle for life.” And if this imitative faculty is once proved – as it can easily be – an absolute misfit for the Darwinian frame; i.e., if its alleged use, in connection with the so-called “survival of the fittest” is shown to be a speculation which cannot stand close analysis, to what then can the fact of this faculty be attributed? All of you have seen insects which copy with almost a mirror-like fidelity the colour and even outward form of plants, leaves, flowers, pieces of dead twigs, etc. Nor is this a law but rather a frequent exception. What then but an invisible intelligence outside the insect can copy with such accuracy from larger originals?”

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The above is from p. 129-130 of “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge,” a book which nowadays is published by Theosophy Company and available from the United Lodge of Theosophists.

Lest HPB’s words be misinterpreted by readers who might be as yet unfamiliar with the teachings of Theosophy, we ought to explain that there is no intended insinuation of a personal or anthropomorphic “Creator God” in any of the above. Theosophy does not have its basis in Christianity or any of the other Abrahamic or monotheistic religions. As can be seen in What Does Theosophy Say About God? Theosophy maintains that there is no God. It presents, however, the view that there is ONE INFINITE DIVINE LIFE – “an infinite and eternal Energy” – existing and expressing itself everywhere, as everything, but that that Principle is not a “God.”

The Hierarchies of “gods” (plural, lower case “g”) referred to in the above passage are not to be thought of as in any sense similar to the gods and angels of popular religion. They are, according to the Theosophical teachings, former human beings who in extremely long aeons past completed their evolutionary journey through the human stage of evolution and moved one level beyond. In so doing, they became impersonal forces, functioning as part of a cosmic collectivity which is responsible for the production, energising, and guiding support, of the manifested Universe and its manifold objects and features.

The main point to HPB’s argument is, essentially, how can a simple basic insect, reptile, or any other animal, know and understand its need to blend in with its immediate physical surroundings? And, supposing it was somehow capable of grasping and comprehending this fact, how could that comprehension result in its external appearance becoming suitably modified and, in many cases, in an astoundingly intricate and perfect way?

Do the adherents of scientific dogmas believe that insects possess a will-power strong enough to achieve such a thing? We know that they do not. Do they believe that an insect can somehow magically see what its own body looks like from the outside? They do not. The fact of a mere need for survival is not sufficient to explain how such things actually happen.

Theosophy offers answers which – if one is willing to concede that there may be more to this wondrous thing called life than biology and chemistry – will be found logical, philosophical, and actually scientific in their rigorousness. The two volumes – “Cosmogenesis” and “Anthropogenesis” – of “The Secret Doctrine,” H. P. Blavatsky’s master work, demonstrate this. Those who may be curious are invited to read Praise for H. P. Blavatsky and Theosophy to see what some great and respected thinkers have said about her and her writings.

Natural selection, HPB admits in “The Secret Doctrine,” is a “partial truth” but not the whole truth.

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“The day may come, then, when the “Natural Selection,” as taught by Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer, will form only a part, in its ultimate modification, of our Eastern doctrine of Evolution, which will be Manu and Kapila esoterically explained.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 600)

“The real line of evolution differs from the Darwinian, and the two systems are irreconcilable, except when the latter is divorced from the dogma of “Natural Selection” and the like.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 185)

“Moreover, one of the greatest Western Evolutionists of our modern day, the coadjutor of Darwin, Mr. A. R. Wallace, [i.e. Alfred Russel Wallace, who was in fact a member of the Theosophical Society] when discussing the inadequacy of Natural Selection alone to account for the physical form of Man, admits the guiding action of “higher intelligences” as a “necessary part of the great laws which govern the material Universe” (“Contributions to Theory of Natural Selection”). These “higher intelligences” are the Dhyan Chohans of the Occultists.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 339)

~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~