“Something is doing we don’t know what.” A legendary remark attributed to Sir Arthur Eddington. Let us continue our pilgrimage in wisdom by studying the second fundamental question of existence, the question of origin and purpose.
Two great systems of thought contested the nature of man’s origin in the past: creation and evolution. The diametrical opposition of the mechanical scientists and the stubborn theologians dominated Western civilization for centuries. But today, a new kind of thinking is emerging which is destroying the obsolete paradigms of the past. In this paradigm, both viewpoints can be assimilated into a new system of thought, one that synthesizes both creation and evolution.
The universe is suffused with energy. And Einstein has demonstrated that matter is simply crystallized energy, a new concept that was extended by the mystical quantum physicists. This position correlates well with the viewpoint of mystical philosophers that matter is the lowest form of energy. We can accommodate the creation theory by tentatively accepting that the creation of this universe did exist as a point in time, corresponding with the Big Bang of the Western scientists. That settles the point of view of creation.
Observe the Universe
Explore our world. Open your eyes to your environment. The forms in our world exist as hierarchies. But the hierarchies are inter-related. Atoms give rise to various molecular arrangements. Molecules give rise to mineral categories. All the various kinds of plants are composites of atoms, molecules and minerals. But the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, a plant is more than a collection of atoms, molecules and minerals. It is something more! And by extension, all the forms of life are more than the sum of their preceding hierarchies. Plants exist as the subsistence of some animals. But animals are entirely different from plants. In the same way, humans eat plants and animals, but their forms are different. Humans are infinitely more complex than plants or animals, although these forms are composed of the same fundamental building blocks: the atoms, molecules and minerals.
Thus, there exist hierarchies in nature. Preceding wholes give rise to new kinds of wholes. The building blocks remain the same, but the configurations are entirely different. All these permutations in nature display the fact that energy configurations are evolving from one context to the next, from one level to the next, from one hierarchy to the next. Visualize smaller circles of life giving rise to larger circles of life. Smaller energy configurations giving rise to higher energy configurations. This, then, is the new paradigm that accommodates both creation and evolution. In this way, we see evolution manifesting as the development of energy configurations in different environmental matrices, each building on the preceding whole. And creation is the original impetus that gave rise to the universal primordial archtypes of these forms.
If energy configurations are evolving, then the level of awareness of these energy systems are evolving too! The level of awareness of an atom is limited to energy interactions that maintain its nuclear shape and integrity and insure its ability to form molecules with other atoms. The awareness of a monocellular organism is something else entirely. Its biological activities revolve around the maintenance of homeostasis and the capacity to reproduce. Thus, its awareness of itself has reached a different level, not necessarily higher in essence than the preceding system of an atom, but perhaps richer in context. Because the necessities of homeostasis and reproduction will cause the organism’s awareness of its environment to be on a higher level of context, richer, and more detailed.
Which leads us to human awareness. The consciousness of the human has reached a level where he begins to inquire on the fundamental questions of existence. His awareness of himself is not necessarily higher than molecules, plants or animals. Rather, it is richer relative to the environmental matrix. Because if the human is to survive, he has to assimilate and conquer more of its environmental variables as compared to the lower hierarchies.
Therefore, we can see that evolution is proceeding level by level, whole by whole, context by context. This is a secret that used to be shared only by the best quantum physicists and the most enlightened mystical philosophers. This is the fact that evolution means not only the development of outer physical forms but it is actually the enhancement of consciousness as a form experiences its pilgrimage through the levels of complexity in the nature of the universe.
Creation means the inception of a universe. Evolution means the development of awareness or consciousness in that particular universe as its levels of complexity deepen; thus revealing their inherent beauty.
And now, we are ready to tackle the final fundamental dilemma…..
Part 3, Where Are You Going? Next month.
Part 1, Who Are You? Last month.