To marry or not to marry? This is the question – and what Darwin thinks about it.

I came across this on the introductory lecture about Evolution the other day. Found it quite hilarious and worth sharing.

What does a scientist do when he is about to make a decission? Well, he weighs the pros and cons. And that is exactly what Darwin did with the problem of getting married.

Have a look at the scan of his original notebook in which he wrote down a few thoughts about a marridge and concluded: Marry. Marry. Marry

Worth mentioning is the fact that he also noticed that having a wife is actually better than getting a dog… Good for him!

To marry or not - 2nd Note, MS Dar 210.8:2r, ©Cambridge University Library


Children—(if it Please God) — Constant companion,
(& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one,—
object to be beloved & played with.— —better than a
dog anyhow.— Home, & someone to take care of
house— Charms of music & female chit-chat.— These
things good for one’s health.—but terrible loss of
time. —

My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones
whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, &
nothing after all.— No, no won’t do.— Imagine living
all one’s day solitarily in smoky dirty London House.—
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with
good fire, & books & music perhaps— Compare this
vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ St.
Marry—Mary—Marry Q.E.D.,

Not Marry

Freedom to go where one liked— choice of Society
& little of it. — Conversation of clever men at clubs—
Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every
trifle.— to have the expense & anxiety of children—
perhaps quarelling— Loss of time. — cannot read in
the Evenings— fatness & idleness— Anxiety &
responsibility— less money for books &c— if many
children forced to gain one’s bread.— (But then it is
very bad for ones health to work too much)

Perhaps my wife wont like London; then the sentence
is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool –

And just to finish this post, perhaps it will come as quite a surprise to most of you: Darwin did not embark on the HMS Beagle as a scientist. In fact, he was employed as a ‘gentelman’ or basically a person with a high enough social status  for a captain to talk to (it was not appropriate to engage in a talk with a member of crew). Darwin was therefore captain’s buddy! And on side, a crazy naturalist, obsessed with collecting specimens.


About Zofia Drapella

I always seek adventures, but want them to be meaningful (usually related to science, marine biology, teaching). I so often find myself in the most amazing circumstances and incredible places with inspiring people. I genuinely consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world... I love nature, oceans, mountains, jungles. I try my best to capture what I have the privilege to see/experience and share it with others.
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1 Response to To marry or not to marry? This is the question – and what Darwin thinks about it.

  1. Simon Straetker says:

    great post sophia!!! hope it will get thousand of views 😛

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