Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: I hate "evolution"

I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 13:05 #7783

Jackson's recent post on the strata of mind touched on the idea that the strata of mind in question are ranked from lower to higher, so that as one becomes "more awake" one can access "higher strata." Jackson was not promoting this idea, he just referred to it in passing. I just refer to it because it's what got me on the idea of a thread about the idea of evolution.

I ***loathe**** (cannot emphasize enough) the idea of evolution, especially of consciousness/spirituality, because it always implies rank and progress towards perfection. So does evolution (of species) in the popular (<<---CHRIS!!!! note I am not dissing science!!!!) understanding.

First there were lowly stupid amoebas, now look at glorious humans, the best thing ever, the pinnacle of creation (oops, I mean evolution).

So this to me is a really irritating and fairly common idea when discussing spirituality/religion/consciousness: that somehow poor old stupid people in the old days had silly superstitions. But now! Oh, how special we are, that we understand such deep things about consciousness. It's not that you or I have had a personal breakthrough that has changed our perspective - it is part of an overall trend, an evolution of consciousness across time. Which means we can anticipate an amazing future in which everyone is awake! Yay!

To me this falls into the "hope for future utopia/heaven/afterlife" business that most cultures have. Which is a coping mechanism based on suffering.

I don't believe in a linear trajectory to personal life or history in which everything is aiming towards some amazing state of perfection. I think this is just a human aspiration in response to suffering that gets mythologized.

Am I preaching to the choir here? Or am I missing something ???? (Always likely!!)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 13:18 #7784

In general, I agree with you about consciousness/spiritual evolution. I don’t have a problem with natural hierarchies (this animal is FASTER than that one, and thus BETTER at getting away from this other animal), so long as their context is recognized (as provided in my example). But I really don’t like the idea that we’re all headed toward some special future where we’re all super-evolved and god-like. Gag me.

For something to be better, or more advanced, or more evolved, etc., there needs to be an agreed upon bench mark. Such benchmarks are arbitrary, but they are not always arbitrarily applied (i.e. there’s a common/shared reason for the application, which is then broadly applied; e.g. a dime is greater than a nickel in terms of currency, but not in actual size or weight).

Now, biological (species) evolution is a bit different. The criterion seems to have been chosen naturally, and randomly. Namely: gene survival replication. The process is primarily (and ultimately) passive. It just seems to be how things worked out. Weird. But, it’s not a good idea to think that because this type of ontogenesis is natural (within the context of our given Universe), that all other kinds of “better” are also natural. Not true.

I could talk about this for days. Too bad I have so much damn work to do today.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 13:53 #7787

The core issue in this is "who decides?".
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 14:18 #7791

shargrol wrote:
The core issue in this is "who decides?".
Right. A decision is made. While interpretation isn't everything, it can't really be separated out from "objective" reality. It's a lot more messy than we'd like it to be, that's for sure.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 14:30 #7794

Nice to have you back and chatty, Jackson.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 15:00 #7795

Ona Kiser wrote:
Nice to have you back and chatty, Jackson.
Thanks! Who knows how long it will last :unsure:
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 13 Nov 2012 16:19 #7796

"Am I preaching to the choir here? Or am I missing something ???? (Always likely!!)" -- Ona

It seems no one here has ever proposed anything like the straw man you have created to argue against ;-)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 00:16 #7801

"It seems no one here has ever proposed anything like the straw man you have created to argue against"

-- I dunno...

What I thought she was referring to was all the 'stages of insight' ascending rankings and Kenneth's 'developmental-- whatsis' [the counterpart to sudden enlightenment-- his term, which eludes my fraying memory at the moment]. And that there is this kind of bias built into our thinking about almost everything-- let alone something conceived from the get-go as 'attainments.'

I kinda concur; however, the notion may just be a sort of conceptual 'transitional object' or training wheels to be left behind when they prove to hinder more than help.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 05:04 #7803

I don't recall it being discussed specifically here, though Jackson's reply in the 20 strata thread hinted around similar ideas and reminded me of the subject. But I have heard about the evolution of the species towards higher consciousness from various spiritual teachers out there and wondered if there's some source or reason for it besides the ideas I mentioned. ie it all started with Guru So and so in 1976....
Last Edit: 14 Nov 2012 05:05 by Ona Kiser.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 08:37 #7804

So there are two things in play here, right?

1. The notion that some mental states are superior in some way to other states
2. The notion that spiritual consciousness is somehow superior to our "normal" human state of consciousness

I have no idea how we would ever decide either thing, because as shargrol has said, what matters is whose rules we play by. That said, these are interesting topics from a philosophical POV.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 09:02 #7807

There's also another thing in play, I think, which is using the buzzword of evolution --- divorced from just the practical use of evolution in biology and medical fields, like species evolution and pathogen evolution, which is directional but doesn't include a sense of better or worse --- as another form of teleological argument.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument

That's why much of the integral crowd's discussions of evolution winds up sounding like a religious sect trying to be on god's side.
Last Edit: 14 Nov 2012 09:04 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 09:13 #7809

Wikipedia under "spiritual evolution" points out that the general idea was popular in theosophy, which impacted New Age thought, and is part of Integral Theory, which is probably why it pops up in dharma contexts sometimes, since he is quite popular.

Yeah, for me the problematic part is the idea of superiority as Chris pointed out. Which may or may not be intended in every use of the word "evolution" but I get the impression it tends to be the main reason people choose the word. Because it implies change towards an ideal or perfected state, better than other states.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 09:58 #7811

Yeah, biological evolution is not some inexorable march toward superiority in a general sense. It is an inexorable march toward superiority of survivability in local environments. That is the only "superior" that can be applied unless one is ready to make value judgments about what is, or is not, "superior."
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 10:39 #7815

Right. Whales are more "evolved" than humans, having been in the water, on land, and back in the water.

The term is simply misused.

Evolution toward an ideal is more similar to the ideas of Lamarckism and it's most extreme and politicized form was Lysenkoism.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 10:47 #7818

I love Wikipedia!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 11:08 #7820

Another evolution myth (used particularly by Spiritual Evolutionaries) is that "greater complexity = better/higher". This is certainly not the case for biological evolution. There are numerous cases (though I can't think of specifics right now... doh! I can find them if need be) where a species went backwords in terms of complexity, and increased its survival potential in doing so.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 14 Nov 2012 11:10 #7821

I have Wikipediaphilia too :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 15 Nov 2012 07:35 #7845

Jackson Wilshire wrote:
Another evolution myth (used particularly by Spiritual Evolutionaries) is that "greater complexity = better/higher". This is certainly not the case for biological evolution. There are numerous cases (though I can't think of specifics right now... doh! I can find them if need be) where a species went backwords in terms of complexity, and increased its survival potential in doing so.

Good point. I think the fetishization of evolution, in the 'integral' sense, is an artifact of a stage of ego development (ha! how's that for ironic!).

I want to put this other possibility out there, though: I notice a big difference between evolution as a specialized adaptation to a local niche, which well describes much of natural history, and evolution as developing more generalized adaptability.

Applying this to human experience and development, it's evident to me that initially I adapted to a relatively stable social niche (family and community) and my personality-- both in terms of identity-feeling and in terms of objective behavior-- was pretty stably adapted to that niche, to the point that I unconsciously sought out situations which replicated that structure after leaving home. Whereas, and some degree of awakening plays a role in this in my experience, lately it seems more like developing towards a general adaptability less hampered by rigid unconscious identifications.

Shifting back to the species level, a trend towards generalized adaptability rather niche adaptation seems definitive for human beings, at least a distinct trend.

What do you guys think?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 15 Nov 2012 08:59 #7846

Species with general adaptability is common in ecosystems characterized by instability. Weeds are generally adaptable, do well after a disturbance, but they don't compete as well in stable climax communities. I think it would be hard to say that general adaptablity is an overall evolutionary trend.

The problem here is we're talking about evolution, which occurs in ecologial time (1000's of years is nothing), and applying it to events/trends that are mostly found within the last 50 years.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 15 Nov 2012 16:27 #7854

Sure, and lots of single celled organisms are highly adaptive as well. It kind of points at the emptiness/relativity of space and time as to what defines 'local', too. Humans are potentially becoming adaptive to kinds of instability that are only apparent over vast swathes of time-- stuff that seems stable from one perspective is evidently unstable from another perspective. We have the capacity to take this into account and in some ways coming to terms with this bigger perspective, in which that which appeared stable no longer does, seems to be opening up a deeper level of general adaptability.

Ultimately, if we zoom out to the known history of Universe, it seems really evident that matter/energy organizes itself into more complex and adaptive patterns over time. It seems tough to deny that, and although it is a different definition of the word 'evolution' than the strictly biological, it seems to make even more sense (to me). However, even here, we could zoom out to a deeper perspective, in which our known (post-big-bang) cosmos is embedded in even deeper systems and broader kinds of 'time'... and in that context, the thing starts to look very cyclic again (rather than directional). I guess I have no problem with describing time as involving cycles, linear development, and all combinations.

The problems seem to arise when there is a reification of those descriptions, when the description becomes confused with reality. Reality can carry those descriptions in some sense, providing evidence to support them, but no description can wrap around the whole of this moment of experience, much less everything. Much of my reaction to integralist fundamentalism comes down to this issue of reifying the description; reifying the 'evolutionary' description leads to a lot of ridiculous stuff, like the blatant racism of the Theosophists and the more subtle racism in Wilber's frequent pejorative diatribes against hunter gatherers, for instance.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: I hate "evolution" 15 Nov 2012 16:48 #7855

jake wrote:
The problems seem to arise when there is a reification of those descriptions, when the description becomes confused with reality. Reality can carry those descriptions in some sense, providing evidence to support them, but no description can wrap around the whole of this moment of experience, much less everything. Much of my reaction to integralist fundamentalism comes down to this issue of reifying the description; reifying the 'evolutionary' description leads to a lot of ridiculous stuff, like the blatant racism of the Theosophists and the more subtle racism in Wilber's frequent pejorative diatribes against hunter gatherers, for instance.
Great points! - especially in the above.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Time to create page: 0.222 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum