George Bernard Shaw and the Life Force
"Creative evolution, put forth in jovial but dead serious dramatic terms in Shaw's play 'Man and Superman' (published in 1903; first performed in 1905), is based on an ever upwardly striving phenomenon called the life force, which propels us away from our inconvenient bodily impulses and toward a state of pure cerebration. The life force, by the way, is transmitted by rare, world-shaking men of genius, 'selected by Nature to carry on the work of building up an intellectual consciousness of her instinctive purpose.' In other words, men like Jesus, Julius Caesar, John Bunyan, Napoleon, Goethe, Wagner and—but, of course—George Bernard Shaw. . . . Improvement of the species . . . was always the first purpose of Shaw's plays."
"In 1921, Shaw completed Back to Methuselah, his 'Metabiological Pentateuch'. The massive, five-play work starts in the Garden of Eden and ends thousands of years in the future; it showcases Shaw's postulate that a 'Life Force' directs evolution toward ultimate perfection by trial and error. Shaw proclaimed the play a masterpiece, but many critics disagreed. The theme of a benign force directing evolution reappears in Geneva (1938), wherein Shaw maintains humans must develop longer lifespans in order to acquire the wisdom needed for self-government."
"In Shawianity, god was a work in progress, not a fait accompli. In a 1909 letter to Leo Tolstoy, Shaw explained: 'To me God does not yet exist; but there is a creative force struggling to evolve an executive organ of godlike knowledge and power; that is, to achieve omnipotence and omniscience; and every man and woman born is a fresh attempt to achieve this object. We are here to help God, to do his work, to remedy his whole errors, to strive towards Godhead ourselves.' In its odyssey to achieve fruition, the life force would create ever-higher forms of humanity--supermen, super-supermen, supermen to the third power: 'When one instrument is worn out, I will make another, and another, and another, always more and more intelligent and effective.'
"Shaw fused . . . the life force with the instrument. In 'The New Theology,' he prepped his audience: 'When you are asked, "Where is God? Who is God?" stand up and say, "I am God and here is God, not as yet completed, but still advancing towards completion, just in so much as I am working for the purpose of the universe, working for the good of the whole society and the whole world, instead of merely looking after my personal ends."' God 'would provide himself with a perfectly fashioned and trustworthy instrument. And such an instrument would be nothing less than God himself.'"
Henri Bergson and Creative Evolution
Henri Bergson (1859-1941) was a French philosopher who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927. He "convinced many thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant than rationalism and science for understanding reality." He also authored L'Evolution créatrice (Creative Evolution) in 1907.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Bergson's project in Creative Evolution is to offer a philosophy capable of accounting both for the continuity of all living beings—as creatures—and for the discontinuity implied in the evolutionary quality of this creation. Bergson starts out by showing that the only way in which the two senses of life may be reconciled (without being collapsed) is to examine real life, the real evolution of the species, that is, the phenomenon of change and its profound causes."
From wikipedia:"The book provides an alternate explanation for Darwin's mechanism of evolution, suggesting that evolution is motivated by an élan vital, a 'vital impetus' that can also be understood as humanity's natural creative impulse."