The philosophical question we ask is this: Does each development come as a result of a universal system of "problem and solution" that governs the behaviour of plants, animals, individual human beings, and society in general? Is there a law or explanation for all of natural and human development? Let us consider these examples:
To a plant, its sual requires it to get nutrition. for example, its leaves must unfold to collect energy.To a person, his power of reason and decision-making determines the direction he takes to reach his chosen goal. To a nation, the collective action of the people determines the general direction of development.
Each of these phenomena have a common theme that we will call "cause and effect". Or we could describe it another way, by saying that it is a law of nature that "every action has a consequence". In this world of infinite possibilities, do developments occur randomly through infinite trial and error, or is there a common purpose that dictates the direction of natural and national development? One school of thought is that development, or evolution, comes as a result of "problem and answer asking".
This interpretation suggests that when a plant, a person, or even a government, is presented with an obstacle, they deal with it in the same way--through "problem and answer asking", or to use another expression meaning almost the same thing, they deal with the problem through "trial and error". This thinking is similar to Charles Darwin's discovery that evolution is a natural progression explained by natural selection. That is, each generation contains mutations or changes, and the changes that give the individual an advantage are passed on more frequently to the next generation so that eventually the changes dominate and those who cannot compete will decline and atrophy and eventually disappear.
This really is a form of "problem and answer asking", although not necessarily the product of a conscious mind. It is nature's way of evolving through trial and error. And at the level of human behaviour and even change within a nation, the evolution is a gradual result of "problem and answer asking". This theory explains why sometimes plants, people, and even nations, make bad choices. But they learn and evolve from those bad choices, and over time, great improvements come. This thinking may seem like western philosophical thinking, but it seems to me that its roots come from China, not the west. Darwinism and related thought is, it seems to me, simply another expression of a much older insight developed in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, and reflected in the notion of "yin" and "yang", where although forces oppose each other, they are rooted together, and so transform each other until they return to their natural state of balance.
This Taoist thinking applies in nature, but it is also applicable to human behaviour and even to nations. The three virtues often associated with Taoism--compassion, moderation and humility--suggest that change should not occur too quickly. Change cannot come too quickly in China, for that would be a turmoil. The question is whether the machinery in our hands is compatible with the correct Tao (known in the west as the "path" or "way"). If the machinery is compatible with the correct "way", then it will not only achieve the equilibrium represented by the hypostatic structure represented by Yin and Yang;
it could also create a situation of momentum where half the effort will yield double results. It would seem that the integration of philosophical and scientific thought can achieve harmony and progress at a rate that will benefit mankind and avoid chaos and turmoil.
If that is correct, then the pursuit of intellectual thought is an essential component of the progress of the world.