Alternative evolution

For those who are sceptical of a reductionistic view of evolution where blind forces and accidental mergings are purported to account for the observed diversity of life, here is an alternative theory. This approach begins from a standpoint that assumes mind and consciousness to be primal as opposed to the above view which treats lifeless physical substance and forces and nothing more as the originator of life.

The primal mind and consciousness I will call spiritual, the physical substance and forces I will call material.

In my opinion the material is condensed out of the spiritual. So I am just giving an explanation of evolution to be considered and not trying to pass anything I say below as fact.

From this aspect the sun that we see in the sky is just the physical manifestation of the spiritual sun which covers a much more inclusive area. All of the surrounding sphere of influence of the sun is encompassed by the spiritual sun. And so our earth and all the planets are included in this sun. When we look up at the night sky all that we see, all of the visible objects are manifestations of the spiritual. All that we don’t see, the darkness, the vacuum of space, this belongs to the spiritual from which the physical is condensing. And through physics we are starting to realise that empty space is anything but empty. It is only empty from the point of view of human physical senses.

Now there are distinct levels of condensation. If we look at the solar system, the gas giants have condensed less than the earth and inner planets.

Moving on to earthly life, the single celled organisms we see around us are descended from those forms which condensed the earliest and by so doing have become less plastic and unable to develop further. There forms are not suitable for the descent of consciousness into the physical forms. But this remaining behind was an absolute necessity in order to form a base from which ever higher forms of life could emerge. And at every stage of life’s development certain forms remain behind and develop their consciousness no further. Organisms such as fish have descended more slowly and have thus been able to evolve further than the earlier forms. But they have progressed no further than their current stage. And this is how evolution continues. Humans have taken the longest time to condense down to the physical and thus have developed a physical form in which consciousness, which is spiritual, is able to become manifest in the individual organism.

And this is why we see a nested hierarchy of life from its early beginnings up to the present. Life is an evolution of consciousness which can also be described as a condensation of individual consciousnesses out of a cosmic consciousness. Prokaryotes share in the cosmic consciousness but have very little in the way of any noticeable individual consciousness. Humans are at a level where they do manifestly display a certain amount of individual consciousness.

This development of life can be seen mirrored in the development of each one of us from conception to adult. See the diagram below:

Images of human development compared to the evolution of sentient life:
A & K – Single cellular beginnings
B & L – Cells multiplying
C & M – Differentiation of forms
D & N – Distinct forms appearing
E & O – Developing locomotory systems
F & P – Early stages of central nervous system and senses
G & Q – Transition to a terrestrial existence
H & R – Limbs have developed to a point where they can support the body
I & S – Bipedalism gives the upper limbs more freedom from the gravitational forces
J & T – Organisms have moved from being just creatures to being creators

And this series is not meant to be taken as a simple progression one following on the one preceding it. There are overlapping forms between and within each level. I’m sure everyone understands that life is vastly more complex than depicted by this simple diagram.

Thinkers such as Lorenz Oken and those ancient astronomers who interpreted the heavens in the form of the zodiac, the circle of animals, pictured the animal kingdom as a spreading out of the human form, a series of individual forms each displaying a one sided aspect of that which is seen as complete in the human form. The human is the culmination of all that was prepared in preceding life. And that is what I have tried to show with this diagram. What is spread throughout the animal kingdom is condensed in the individual human being.

153 thoughts on “Alternative evolution

  1. Kantian Naturalist:

    CharlieM: So you are saying that a rose in a vase is real, whereas a rose growing over time from a seed producing shoot, root, leaves, flower and fruit, is speculative metaphysics? For you it seems that the part is real but the whole is just speculation produced by my fantastical imagination.

    I think that both are real — indeed, equally real.

    Then you have not grasped the rose in its essential nature. A rose is an organism, which means that is a living being with the inner potential to grow and reproduce. The rose in the vase is not an organism in its own right. The rose in the vase could not exist without the organism but the organism does not need a rose in a vase in order to exist.

    They are both real as objects of our perception, but we are capable of taking our thinking further than cataloguing mere perception. We are able to understand the reality of the rose within a higher context. We can see the reality of the whole.

  2. Kantian Naturalist: One of the key differences between our views is that you think that the senses just give us “snapshots,” as you like to put it, and that the imagination is brought into play — as it were assembling the snapshots into a movie.

    I don’t think that that’s true.

    Rather, I think that the imagination is always at work in producing image-models, and that the senses are always at work guiding the construction of those image models so they don’t veer too far from what is conducive to successful action.

    Here’s a quote from Sellars that conveys what I have in mind (though I would stress the role of bodily movement far more than he does):

    “Perceptual consciousness involves the constructing of sense-image-models of external objects. This construction is the work of the imagination responding to the stimulation of the retina. . . . The most significant fact is that the construction is a unified process guided by a combination of sensory input on the one hand and background beliefs, memories, and expectations on the other.”

    What Sellars does not quite add (though he comes perilously close to the truth) is that perceptual consciousness is therefore heavily constrained and biased — biased both both the perspectival facts of bodily movement in space and time, and the evolutionary constraints of the sensory apparatus, and the various biases (both biological and cultural) at the level of the background beliefs, memories, and expectations.

    What makes experimental science distinct is that although it uses perceptual consciousness, there is a huge amount of socio-linguistic scaffolding that systematically filters out as much bias as possible. (Note: “as much bias as possible” is not “eliminates all bias completely.” There is no view from nowhere.) This involves a great deal of technological intervention, mathematical formalism, and the iterated error-filtering of peer review.

    It’s because of the various constraints involved in perceptual consciousness that science must involve systematically eliminating as much bias as we can from what is disclosed to perceptual consciousness, and that involves a community of inquirers who can criticize each other as well as the equipment necessary to disentangle the causal influence of various phenomena.

    Rather than saying our senses give us snapshots I would prefer to say that our memory pictures initially give us the snapshots. And I don’t believe our senses give us a model either, they give us actual reality. With our senses we live in reality, only the reality is fragmented until we set our thinking to work. If you want to regard anything as a model or a representation it would be our memory pictures. Our senses give us a fragmented reality but our perceiving through thinking gives us a fuller, connected reality. A child might see (with their eyes) a caterpillar and a butterfly. But they do not see the connection. Once they understand that they are different stages of the same creature they they can say that they see (with their mind) the connection. This insight is not a model, it is real. In this way they are able to reassemble reality into its unified whole which in truth was not actually fragmented. It only appeared to be that way from the point of view of the child. The child’s understanding did not accord with reality.

    There is no unknowable “butterfly in itself” behind the butterfly we perceive. We are capable of knowing the full reality of the butterfly.

    I appreciate that we are coming from entirely different world views which neither of us is going to give up, but I wouldn’t expect or want you to stop giving me your side of an argument.

  3. dazz:
    I recommend staring straight at the sun. Anything else alters your perception of light unnecessarily

    You first 🙂

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