I have been increasingly troubled by this conundrum. We hear lots about how we are evolving and that global society is on the cusp of an evolutionary breakthrough, and yet we still seem beset by challenges which would undermine this hypothesis. And by what yardstick are we defining this evolving notion?
If we look at human evolution, there hasn’t been much biological that has fundamentally changed since the emergence of the frontal cortex. The brain is more or less the same, our emotional responses are the same and the only thing that probably has changed has been our view of the world around us: it is more cognitive and less full of wonder. However, we dismiss our forebears as “simpler” at our peril. It seems to me that building a pyramid or Great Zimbabwe or Stonehenge is even more amazing because it was done without the artificial aid of technological wizardry.
The evolution of consciousness has me equally baffled and goes to the heart of my dilemma. If we base our thinking on a hierarchical structure we automatically discount two groups of people. The first are those people of all eras, including this one, whose wisdom and soul is palpable, without the ‘evolutionary’ trappings associated both with ego and the acquisition of material wealth, brain status and worldly acclaim. The second is all those people we colloquially refer to as ‘old souls’ – those people who seem to have wisdom beyond their actual experience. Typically these are young people, who in the evolutionist theory could not yet have soul consciousness
We also talk of the evolution of consciousness in terms of moving beyond the ego to the soul, as if the soul were somehow divisible from the ego and is only accessible if we have liberated ourselves. This seems to me to be an impoverished view at best. It also elevates the soul into a ‘better than’ place, which somehow doesn’t seem right when the ego, amongst other things keeps us safe. And finally, in this higher level view of soul, we have to contend with quantum physics, which suggests that soul consciousness vibrates at a higher pitch than ‘lower’ or ego consciousness. It may do – but describing it as a higher vibration is not the same as saying it is better.
Maybe we should talk about consciousness as, biologically at least, not evolving, but being present in all of us in all its magnificence just waiting to be awakened!
So what about maturing? This seems to me to be a simpler way to describe what happens to us – not in consciousness terms but in experiential terms. As long as we make sense of our experiences we can awaken more aspects of our consciousness and this can happen at any age. For sure, as long as we continue reflecting on our experience then our bandwidth of consciousness will expand. This feels as though it is a more logical explanation of what happens as we grow up and older, using our reflections to make more sense of what is happening to us and around us.