135 – Archetypal Steps in Human Evolution …

An ARCHETYPE, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies: PROTOTYPE: IDEA: an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C.G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual.

Jung understood archetypes to be universal, inherited potentials which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. They are autonomous and hidden forms which are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given particular expression by individuals and their cultures. In Jungian psychology, archetypes are highly developed elements of the collective unconscious which are the structures of the unconscious mind shared among beings of the same species (Extracts from Wikipedia: Jungian Archetypes).

We can gage our evolutionary progress through archetypal steps which can become the first imprints of significant change in the species as a whole. Some examples of these archetypal steps in human evolution are: The advent of conscious self-awareness, the capacity to conceptualize abstract ideas, the material and consciousness-transforming advances of the agricultural, industrial, and technological revolutions.

The agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions are easily understood as archetypal steps in our evolution, but because conscious self-awareness and our capacity to conceptualize abstract ideas are from a more ancient origin, they are not as easily perceived as archetypal steps in our evolution.

Conscious self-awareness, as opposed to the simple awareness of less developed animals, is our capacity for introspection and to recognize ourselves as individuals and as members of a species. The capacity to conceptualize abstract concepts, as opposed to object-based concepts, is our ability to turn fictional concepts (nations, religions, corporations, money) into objective reality.

Professor of history Yuval Harari on his TED Talk “What explains the rise of humans?” theorizes that a reason why an insignificant animal in a corner of Africa has come to populate every continent on earth and to determine the fate of other animals and possible the planet itself, is that we have learned to collaborate in large numbers with flexibility and imagination, creating a fictional reality of sophisticated systems of cooperation (nations, religions, corporations, money). And so today we live in a dual reality: The objective reality of mountains, rivers, environment, and the fictional reality. The trouble is that we have given the fictional reality such a degree of control that now the objective reality … other species, our environment … has come to depend for survival on the fictional reality (the link below is for the 17 min talk).

As the above mentioned archetypal steps became an inherent capacity in our consciousness over many, many generations, the capacity of the human mind to perceive the Order of the Universe and embody the Fact that as individual and as a species we are integral elements of that universal Order was first termed “Cosmic consciousness” by the Canadian psychiatrist Richard Maurice Bucke (“Cosmic consciousness, a consciousness of the life and order of the universe which is possessed by few men at present. It is a further stage of human evolution which will be reached by all humanity in the future”). This highly developed consciousness has been already emerging in the minds of individuals like Aristotle, Balzac, Rilke, Rumi, Whitman, Einstein, Sagan, Attenborough, to name a few.

Once we are able to overcome the paradigm based on division, consumerism and constant conflict that currently control us, this archetypal step, this capacity of the human mind to conceptualize its participation in a universal Order, will explode into our collective consciousness to bring the most astonishing transformation Humanity has ever experienced.

I can see children all over the world being taught from a very early age that there is a beautiful, self-organizing and self-creative Order in our Universe, and that it is in us and that we are conscious parts of it.


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134 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? IV


This is another attempt on my quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posited to the human mind.* The questions are the title of Paul Gauguin’s most enigmatic painting (shown above – click on picture to enlarge). In trying to answer the questions I am reaching a deeper understanding of what we are in the scheme of Nature, a deeper understanding of the Source from which we all emerge and into which we all ultimately return.

Where do we come from?

We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source; a self-organizing, self-generating, self-perpetuating phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the progression of the Source … amid trial and error, formation and dissolution … into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And since this progression is measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination discernible, its power tremendous, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand. And since its movement can be manipulated and it can manipulate us, some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just its manifestations into diverse and myriad forms. And since we can only imagine its beginning as an explosion out of nowhere, some of us call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of its many universes.

And although the Source thrives inside of us and all around us (in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in our inborn urge to bond and re-generate, in the compelling instinct to adapt and survive, in the boundless creativity and ingenuity of Life, in the selective self-organization of galaxies into spirals and globular clusters, in the constant creation of solar and atomic systems out of recycled forms of energy and mass, in the self-reflective contemplation of self-reflection), what the Source is, what its purpose might be, we are not developed enough to comprehend it.

What are we?

Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and enormously immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of a primordial self-creative Source that imprints us all from the moment of creation with a universal mandate to bond, to self-organize, to re-generate, to adapt, to survive, thus ensuring our participation in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.

And although our actions and reactions are mostly driven by primal instincts, we have nonetheless evolved a conscious awareness of a degree of freedom to choose, to see beyond immediacy, to transform ourselves and our world. And so we are a most amazing creation of a primordial Source that creates life to recreate itself. We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.

Where are we going?

Pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world yet limited by our internal and external environments, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point we begin the transformation into our inexorable dissolution and potential transcendence into higher realms of the Source from which we emerged. But transcendence is impartially measured by

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to our world,

and so, transcendence is measured by the significance of our lives.

Think of Einstein – opening new visions and challenging our understanding of reality; think of Mandela – inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Socrates’ Method – stimulating critical thinking and fueling the transformation of ideas; think of Gauguin – living on in his beautiful paintings, especially the one that keeps asking his profound questions. The deeds of these individuals, to name a few, live on in us; they transcended their lives transforming into higher manifestations of our collective humanity – still challenging us, encouraging us, transforming us, inviting us – their transcendence a measure of the significance of their lives.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source.

WHAT ARE WE? We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? We transcend into the future in equal measure to the significance of our lives.

Transcendence is a measure of the significance of existence.

* Former attempts on Posts 78, 95 and 118.

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133 – The Failure of Natural Science

Natural Science, as an Institution for the advancement of Knowledge, has failed to apply the discoveries of its physical theories to Humanity as part of the natural Order, perpetuating the myth that human beings are separate from Nature, and therefore sharing in great part the responsibility for our ignorance about our relationship with Nature.

This failure is mostly due to the complete exclusion of the human being from the physical theories. Let’s take a couple of theories and look at some of the human properties they describe but are never applied to us:

1 – Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, embodied in the symbol = (equal) of the equation E=mc2 and elucidated in his own words: “The mass content of a body is a measure of its energy content”, implies that energy and mass are the same thing, increasing and decreasing content simultaneously in equivalent amounts … energy increases as mass increases, and energy decreases as mass decreases … while the body, the container, the system, continues a relatively stable relationship with its environment. Is this not, fundamentally, what we do in our every day life? You and I? Do we not … as the body, the container, the system … decrease our energy by exerting it in action and motion and force, and then increase it when it begins to run out with relatively equivalent amounts of foods and liquids and rest? Do we not inherently know how to keep these transactions … this increasing and decreasing … in measured equilibrium as we continue to develop our relationship with the environment? We tend to identify E=mc2 with the power of the atomic bomb, but do we not have the potential energy to change how groups, communities, countries, entire civilizations act and think?

2 – Niels Bohr’s Complementarity, embodied in the particle-wave duality of Light, implies that some objects have multiple properties which appear to be unconnected but are instead indivisible complements of a whole. Light is particle-like and wave-like, not one or the other, both at the same time. We can experience the wave-like property of Light in sunrises and electricity and aurora borealis; and with the appropriate instruments we can experience the particle-like property of Light in the activity and impact of individual photons. But although we may experience these properties as unconnected, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. Similarly, we can experience our particle-like property … our individuality, the utter uniqueness of our minds … as we can experience our wave-like property … the movement of human history, the evolution of the species … but although they may have the appearance of detachment, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. As Light cannot be wave-like streams without photons, Humanity cannot be a wave-like evolutionary force without us.

Light is a duality, and so are we. Light is photons and waves; we are individual human beings and the moods, the fears, the evolution of a species. Either part cannot exist without the other. Accepting this fact of our reality will throw us into a whole new era of wonder.

Without scientific insights into the physical nature of reality, we could not have achieved our level of technological advances. But the current, almost exclusive focus of Natural Science on Reductionism have us going around in a blind circle, believing in the illusion that we can understand Life, our Universe, by reducing them to their minutest particle-like properties, while leaving aside the wave-like complement that makes them whole; this is really like trying to understand a picture by focusing on one of its pixels.

Natural Science is, without question, incredibly ingenious and daring, but not enough to debunk the myth that we are separate from Nature. The consequences of this failure are obvious in the state of our world: Great scientific advances, but a horrible humanitarian and devastating environmental record.

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132 – A Most Harmful Myth …

The dominant myth in most Western thought that our minds are separate from our bodies is a most harmful misconception to Humanity’s advancement into a more rational species. This myth, by perpetuating our sense of separation from Nature and keeping the level of our intellectual rationality were it was centuries, possibly millennia ago, is halting progress in our understanding of our symbiotic relationship with our environment.

The harmful consequences of the perpetuation of this myth are obvious in the state of our world: Constant conflict, horrendous cruelty, mass killings, devastation of the environment in which our lives depend.

Under the myth that the Mind is a separate and unattached entity from the Body, we avoid taking responsibility for our actions; we devalue any form of life … especially and including human life … killing without shame; we commit, with clear intention, horrendous acts of cruelty; we deceive, not as the ‘lower animals’ protecting their progeny, but to destroy, demean, hurt or mime members of our own species. Is it not gruesome how homo sapiens … the most ‘advanced’ species on earth … kills its own by the dozens and thousands, with complete impunity, unless the one killed is a person of ‘worth’?

The Mind-Body relationship in philosophy is akin to the Energy-Mass relationship in physical sciences in which … before Einstein’s special relativity … energy and mass were considered separate entities. It is now proven that energy and mass are complementary and indivisible expressions of the same phenomena – the phenomena Einstein referred to as a body in his elucidation of e=mc2: “The mass content of a body is equivalent to its energy content.”*

Similarly, the Mind-Body relationship is the expression of the phenomena we call the “Self”. Mind and Body are complementary expressions of the Self. Together they form the indivisible relationship in which the Mind is generated to reach, in relative measure, beyond the Body’s sensory limitations   as they complement each other interacting with environments and creating the utterly unique existence of the Self.

One proof that the Mind and the Body are not separate is evident in the impact of physical brain alterations (traumatic brain injury, psychoactive drugs, dementia) on the Self.

Although the limited perception of our nascent conscious awareness may tell us otherwise, Mind and Body are indivisible expression of the Self. That we believe they are separate is a myth. A very harmful myth.

* Highlight mine.

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131 – The Order of Nature and Us …

It is relatively easy for us to see a primal Order in the evolutionary progression towards Complexity in Nature (genetics, mathematics, music, the evolution of Life, the wondrous organization of the brain). And so why do most of us remain incapable of seeing ourselves as part of that Order?

Our inability to see ourselves as part of the natural Order is the main reason we are breaking the chemical equilibrium of the environment that supports us, ravaging animal and plant life, inciting the horrifying consequences of hate, driving our civilization to face its downfall.

It is thus uncanny to see Natural Science, “The Advocate of Knowledge and Understanding” with a magnificent record of insights into many of the fundamental aspects of the natural Order, shying away from debunking the illusion that we are not part of the natural Order.

You and I, as well as atoms or galaxies … or anything in our Universe for that matter … are assemblies of multiple parts; each part inherently knowing how to self-generate, self-energize and self-organize into a cohesive, adaptable and self-perpetuating entity that, in relative symbiotic equilibrium with environmental resources and opportunities, carries the probability to evolve into higher levels of complexity.

This is the basic Blueprint for atoms, for galaxies, for you and me to reproduce the primal Order in the evolutionary progression, and so encouraging and perpetuating the movement towards Complexity in Nature. We don’t know What or Who creates this Order … we might never know … but that we are a part of It and that It is a part of us, is incontestable.

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130 – The Greatest Obstacle …

What do you do when you Know, but lack the “qualifications” (Communication skills, degrees, awards, etc., etc) to share the Knowledge that our brains are already so advanced, so intelligent, so introspective, that we now posses the capacity to comprehend our connection to the magnificent Order that underlies the Universe?

The Universal Order is evident in the creative progression of Evolution into higher and higher levels of complexity, in the Periodic Table of the chemical elements, in the coordinated movement of planets and stars, in the symmetrical dance of energy and mass, in the awe-inspiring harmony of a rainbow.  It is evident within us in the synchronized rhythms of Life, in the methodical self-organization of cells in our bodies, in the molecular structure of the DNA double helix, in our primordial sanction to bond and procreate, in our instinctive urge to survive. But blinded by the illusion that we are Separate from Nature, most of us don’t even consider the possibility of contemplating our connection to that Order.

The extent of our illusion is akin to that of our ancestors’ centuries ago who, relying solely on visual perception to understand macroscopic interactions, were under the illusion that the sun circled the earth and we were the center of the Universe. Today, while accepting the Fact that our organic senses do not always give us an accurate picture of reality (the Air we breathe and fills all spaces appears transparent to us but is in reality thick with molecules; the Light that emanates from the sun and from electricity seems invisible to us but is in reality corpuscular), nonetheless we continue to rely on our senses to understand our interactions with the natural world.

Our experience of the world … the forms, tastes, smells and sounds we perceive … is basically the result of the bombardment of information constantly relayed to our senses by our internal and external environments through interactions with the microscopic world of atoms, molecules, cells. But because our senses are currently unable to perceive these microscopic interactions, we are under the illusion that we are detached from the environment.

This illusion of Separation, so unique to each of us yet so common to all of us, encourages our devastation of the natural world in which our lives depend.

It is thus significant to realize that the same scientific methodology which helped Humanity centuries ago to overcome the illusion that we were the center of the Universe, is the same scientific methodology that today, with its focus on Reductionism and its disdain of Wholeness, is our greatest obstacle to overcome our detrimental illusion of Separation and to conceptualize our connection to the Universal Order.

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129 – The Aim of Evolution …

As each atom, and each molecule, and each cell, and each organ and system they form in our bodies, is imprinted with the history and potential course of its developmental ascent within an evolving primordial Process, so are we as the whole of all of them … what we experience as the self-reflective “I”. This is a Fact most of us can understand and accept theoretically, but not emotionally, not perceptually … not yet.

Desperately asserting the fallacy that we are The Darlings of a “Special Creation”, that we have nothing to do with Nature but consume it and control it, we not only fail to perceive our connection with, and our complete dependence upon the creative, self-generating, self-organizing Evolutionary Process, which allows the time and the favorable environment for atoms, molecules, cells, to congregate into the immensely complex and highly self-reflective organism we currently call homo sapiens; but we also fail to perceive … theoretically, emotionally, sensually, physically … the great beauty that the Mind, the self-reflective “I”, is the collective knowledge of all those atoms and molecules and cells, interacting with each other and with the whole of us, as we  learn from experience, reflect on the past, examine the present, and create a future. This act of learning, of self-reflection, of self-examination, of self-creation, which is mostly instinctive in most of Nature, is, in us … the only creatures we certainly know of … becoming more and more aware of itself. This, the awareness of self-awareness, partly instinctive but mostly conscious, is the aim of Evolution.

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128 – The Tragedy of having Knowledge but not Knowing we have.

With the Theory of Relativity Einstein gave us the knowledge that e=mc2, with its implied self-reflective equilibrium (see Posts 66 & 89), is a universal Law without which our Universe, and everything within it … including us … could not have developed into what we are today. “The mass of a body is equivalent to its energy content”*. But then, What, or Who established this Law; What, or Who implemented it so thoroughly that for eons of time and across an entire Universe no body or system can exist, nor thrive, without obeying it?

With the Theory of Evolution Darwin gave us the knowledge that the primordial, creative, self-generating, self-organizing and adaptable Process, of which we are a manifestation, is the driving universal engine behind the evolution of all things in Nature. “One hand has surely worked throughout the universe.”* But then, once again, What, or Who initiated this Process, setting it determinedly on a steady path towards higher and higher complexity and order?

These Theories, amongst many others with profound implications, have been part of Human Knowledge for decades. The most beautiful thing about them is not only that we have evolved the capacity to envision them, but also that we have evolved the capacity to pose the deep questions they engender, and find answers within us; this is what makes us the most incredible and insightful organism … as far as we know … in Nature. Yet Science, as a the set of institutions supposedly created to advance our Knowledge, is terrified of delving into the immensurability of these questions; and Religion, as the group of organizations supposedly created to support those of us who believe in something/somebody greater than us, inhibits any kind of inquiry into them under the scourge of Dogma.

And so, already Knowing, we don’t Know we Know.

“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” Rumi

* Albert Einstein * Charles Darwin (Highlights mine)

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127 – Dogma Enslaves the Mind …

We are, as far as we know, the only creatures in Nature evolved enough to be aware of a degree of freedom to self-reflect on our past, and to plan our future.

But we will neither survive into the promise of our unparalleled evolution, nor as a rational and viable species, as long as we continue to allow the obliteration of our Moral Sense by the scourge of dogmatic and authoritarian principles imposed on us by dominant ideologies:

Economic Dogma: Imposing on us the belief that ‘self-centered consumerism’ and ‘unlimited growth’ are the sole measures of Progress, while disregarding their irrationality.

Political Dogma: Imposing on us the belief that aggression and constant conflict are the measures of Power, while disregarding their destructiveness.

Religious Dogma: Imposing on us the belief that man is a Special Creation … separate from and better than Nature … while disregarding the devastating treatment of Nature and the continued level of Ignorance it incites.

Scientific Dogma: Imposing on us the belief that Reductionism (reducing Life, The Universe to elemental, measurable units) is the only acceptable method to Understanding, while disregarding the Whole without which elemental, measurable units cannot exist.

Fighting with its horrible deceptions the introduction of unconventional concepts or methods … like the concept that, as cells in our bodies, we are elements of a living, self-generating Universe and cannot be alive without it …  which may set us free from centuries-old imprisonment to explore the promise of our unparalleled evolution, Dogma enslaves the mind.

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126 – On Vacation …

If things work as planned, I will be posting again on June 1, 2015

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