This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, naturalist and author of what is probably the most groundbreaking book in history, The Origin of Species. Until Darwin, there was no scientific explanation of how we and all the other creatures on our planet got to be here. There were simply a host of different creation myths and religious views, the Christian one, of course, being that God created the world and everything in it over the course of a week. In 1831, Darwin embarked on an exploration that would take him to some of the most remote parts of the globe. As a naturalist on board H.M.S Beagle, he collected specimens of thousands of plants and animals. After a five-year voyage that took him around the world, Darwin returned to England. He continued with his research, going through his notes and specimens until he came up with a theory to explain what he’d learned. As we all know, the theory of evolution demonstrates that all living creatures stem from the same source, and evolved over millions of years through the process of natural selection. When The Origin of Species was finally published, it created quite a stir. Darwin became one of the most highly respected scientists in the world. He met some resistance from those who felt his ideas were inconsistent with their religious beliefs. His theory of evolution has, however, stood the test of time. Last year, the Church of England offered an apology “for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still”. When he died, Charles Darwin became one of only a handful of individuals to have had a state funeral, something normally reserved for royalty. On a soul level, Darwin was old. In fact, he was well into Level 10. His soul type was that of a Thinker, which is hardly a surprise. Thinkers make great scientists, and frequently have a “collector mentality”, a useful trait in someone who spent five years of his life collecting specimens. Darwin had a Spiritualist influence. Imposing the Spiritualist on the Thinker was his soul’s way to create an internal desire to “make a difference” through his work. His soul hoped to change the world by revealing the truth about it. With his Creator influence, the first of two secondary influences, Darwin was able to enjoy the beauty of the world he explored. And he used his Educator influence to help synthesize and impart his knowledge. As a gentle old soul, Darwin was appalled by the slavery he encountered on his voyage. He and Captain FitzRoy had huge arguments about it. At one point, Darwin was permanently banned from dining with the captain, although he was allowed back to the table when tempers eventually cooled. Like many Thinker types, Darwin had a mission of Examination. Whenever you see a Thinker with both a secondary Educator influence and a mission of Examination, you’re looking at someone who is bookish, methodical, and has an eye for detail. It was in his caution regarding his feelings toward Emma Wedgwood, the cousin he’d eventually marry, that the dispassionate academic came out. Before proposing, he wrote two columns in his journal. The first was headed “Marry.” The second, “Not Marry.” Under the “Marry” heading he wrote, “Constant companion and a friend in old age… object to be beloved and played with… better than a dog anyhow.” In the second column, he wrote, “Less money for books” and “a terrible loss of time.” Emma turned out to be better than a dog. They married and were together until Charles died in 1882. Their only major source of disagreement was to do with their very different beliefs. After the death of their daughter, Annie, from scarlet fever, Charles lost the last vestiges of his faith in Christianity and declared himself an agnostic. (Most atheists and agnostics are rational Level 10 Thinkers.) Emma, however, remained a devout Christian. It says a lot about Charles Darwin that he recognized the discomfort his scientific findings created in Emma. He always tried to express his understanding of the world as diplomatically as he could, in order to respect her feelings.