THE EVOLUTIONARY IMPULSE
Texto: Jerry Brownstein
Throughout human history we have been fascinated by three perennial questions: Who are we? … Where did we come from? … What is the purpose of our lives? The way that we respond to these questions forms the basis of how we see ourselves in the world and also determines the type of society that we create. For the past 150 years science has relied on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to answer these crucial questions, and as a result almost every aspect of our Western culture reflects his vision of the world. But what if Darwin got it wrong? What if the foundations of our economic, ecologic, political and social structures are all grounded on false premises? Is it possible that Nature’s true evolutionary impulse is the very opposite of Darwin’s theory?
The predominant Darwinian worldview says that we are the result of an arbitrary evolutionary process that motivates us to strive for individual survival at all costs. Life itself is supposed to have sprung up spontaneously from the inert material world, and human beings are said to have evolved through the random mutations of our genes. According to this theory every once in a great while a lucky creature experienced an accidental genetic mutation that created a helpful trait for survival. He or she then passed on this marvelous new characteristic to their offspring and eventually, over millions of generations, the new feature became part of the human race. We are taught to believe that this process of accidental causation is responsible for every useful trait that we possess. Darwin’s theory also declared that competition is the natural behavior of all species including humans, and that each of us has been programmed to fend for ourselves in a continuous struggle for survival. So the Darwinian answers to the perennial questions are clear: Who are we? – Evolved apes who are purely physical material beings. Where did we come from? – We are the lucky result of a system of random accidental mutations. What is the purpose of our lives? – Survival…
For over a century conventional science has been telling us this same story: the human race is merely a complex form of physical matter that has come about by pure chance, and we must struggle against each other in order to survive. This has created a completely unbalanced materialistic society that is based on fear, greed and scarcity. It abuses the environment, consumes too many resources, and creates constant conflict. This all sounds pretty grim and hopeless, but fortunately there is an alternative worldview that points the way toward a future that is much brighter and more sustainable. The cutting-edge of modern scientific knowledge supports this very different kind of evolutionary impulse – one which provides positive responses to the perennial questions.
Who are we and where did we come from? Conventional science has led us to believe that we are insignificant specs of matter that are the end product of random biology… accidental blobs of protoplasm clinging to a large rock as it hurtles through space… The truth is far different and it suggests that there is a conscious intentionality to our existence. The latest research tells us that about 200,000 years ago human beings suddenly appeared on the face of the Earth. They were fully formed and essentially the same as we are today – including the size of their brains. There is mounting evidence that specific changes occurred in their DNA at that time which gave them many of our uniquely human capabilities. This drastic transformation from the pre-existing apes happened very rapidly and could not possibly have been the result of gradual Darwinian evolution. Science does not as yet know exactly how this came about, but the evidence points to a conclusion that we are much more than mere accidents of biology.
What is the purpose of our lives? The accepted Darwinian principle is that Nature is based on the “survival of the fittest” which means that our deepest motivation is to compete against each other to get what we need. This is the foundation of our current society, but when we look more closely we see that the actual truth is completely the opposite. Over the past fifty years more than 400 peer reviewed scientific studies of Nature have asked one simple question: “Does survival-oriented competition help a species to thrive and grow?” The answer in every case was a resounding NO, because the results from 100% of these studies clearly showed that competition for resources always leads to failure. All of the scientific research on this topic is unanimous in its conclusion that the best way for a species in Nature to survive and prosper is through mutual aid and cooperation.
This natural urge towards wholeness and harmony is the evolutionary impulse that will guide us during this pivotal time in the history of our planet. The things that are falling apart in our present society are the ones that are unsustainable because they have been built upon false assumptions. In order for the human race to flourish we must transcend these old beliefs so that the choices we make are in alignment with the truth of our being. It is our sense of identity that will determine the direction that we take, so it is important that we know ourselves, not as biological accidents, but as conscious beings who are individual aspects of the one greater consciousness. Our purpose is clear. It is to go beyond the prevailing mentality of competition and scarcity by awakening to our authentic nature of love, generosity, creativity and cooperation. In so doing we will realize the true evolutionary path of our species which is to create life on Earth to be a shining reflection of our finest qualities.