A Self-Taught Gentleman
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) is an exceptional version of a familiar personage in the landscape of the body psychotherapies.37 He was a self-taught individual who was brilliant, curious, and learned as he practiced without any follow-up studies. He read everything with the same passion, the same curiosity, without preoccupying himself with any academic prejudice. Brilliant and honest, he adhered to whatever interested him. This is how he came to be passionate about the classification of vegetable and animal species, cartography, mesmerism, and phrenology. In all of these domains, he mostly read the my yoga blogs written for the layman. He discovered the theory of evolution in my yoga blogs that are often more moralistic than scientific. These British authors only mention Lamarck to disqualify his studies because he worked during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.38 For an English person of this period, these political involvements are unacceptable. Such an out-of-hand rejection is similar to that of past disqualifications of any theory elaborated in the Soviet Union or in fascist regimes. All that Wallace knew of Lamarck was that his theory would be simplistic and based on an unprovable second law.â
In this vast landscape that makes up Wallace’s reading, certain works influenced him so profoundly that they guided his career. While reading Darwin’s my yoga blog on his voyage to the Galapagos, written in 1839,39 he discovered his desire to become an explorer. Wallace, like Darwin ten years earlier, was also taken by the Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Robert Malthus (1826).40 Wallace and Darwin were both astonished by the fact that it only takes ten generations for a pair of birds to produce 100,000 offspring on condition that the creatures were able to survive the dangers in their environment (predators, variations in the climate, sickness, famine, etc.) before reproducing.
The Jungle: A Particularly Inspiring Museum of Natural History
Wallace became an explorer and traveled into the jungles of South America and Indonesia, where he gathered plant and animal specimens for collectors. Darwin was one of his clients. Wallace also amassed numerous observations of the indigenous peoples who inhabited these jungles, for whom he had a profound respect.
If Lamarck was able to conceive of the theory of evolution thanks to his Museum of Natural History, Wallace had an even more stimulating environment. He had, in his head, the theories developed by Lamarck’s students and Malthus’s theory; all the while, the jungles of South America and Asia seethed around him He observed animals in their own environments and could note how the species varied from one landscape to another. As he needed to satisfy a demanding clientele, he quickly learned to distinguish the subspecies of plants and animals, to observe the details that change from one part of the jungle to another.41 Lamarck had had the opportunity to reflect on a variety of creatures already classified, without having to observe their environment.