Identifying mental evolution as a distinct evolutionary process from biological evolution 

 

The unprecedented social complexity achieved during the early period of civilization and the parallel growth of the verbal mind started generating serious mental knowledge, which began to go beyond and supplement genetic knowledge (the basis of biological evolution). In the phase of biological evolution, we had the knowledge of just the perceptual data in our nonverbal mind. With the coming of language, we had the perceptual data of our early verbal mind. After which we move on to the middle period of our verbal mind where not only our hard disk of word based information became bigger, but we began to write new mental software. These emerge from the implications that we saw in terms of the new permutations and combinations of our growing verbal information fund. As those new permutations and combinations emerged we saw their usefulness, and when we noticed their creative or useful potential then we began to write new software in our verbal mind.  We found the software installed in our genes in the biological mode of evolution clearly insufficient; they were not as dynamic as the creative capability of our middle-level verbal mind. The rate of our discoveries on the mental plane (new tastes, pleasures) exceeds the rate of the evolution of our genes. So that is serious knowledge, which started to supplement our genetic knowledge, and made us far more enabled and also different from animals and even pre-civilization man. 

The accumulations at the word based data and software levels multiplied and produced so much finished material in our verbal mind that it actually became surplus to the biological center of our mental focus. So it actually became a ‘surplus’ mind. And we find that a stable and firmly established surplus mind cannot be connected to our biological use. So we find this surplus mind proceeding to produce new data, knowledge, software, and mental processes that are not connectable to our biological use. They are surplus for our biological evolutionary stage but we have created them nevertheless. 

In the case of animals and even pre-civilization man, the data which was perceived or received was also far more than what they could use but in their case only relevant data qua survival needs and emotive formats was processed and made use of and the rest was discarded or eliminated. In the case of post-civilization man and especially us this is no longer the case. We go over with a fine comb and much more closely the surplus perceptions or products of our verbal mind, whether they come to us theoretically through our own mental equations or through other sources like writings of other people, etc. So we do not throw them away. We accumulate layers of information from different times, places, aspects, that is clearly surplus to our survival format, and we retain it and do not discard it. And then we spend time on writing programmes, which means classifying and thinking about the relationship between different pieces of information from the standpoint of a question. This is the essence of programming and in the case of post-civilization man this is pure intellectual mechanics, where questions and thinking do not arise out of the survival mode (as they are irrelevant to it)  but are primarily concerned with general truths and knowledge that can be milked out of the surplus information that has been accumulated. For the intellectual process the main question now becomes that what deeper information can it find, beyond our perception of the phenomenon that we have observed. During the period of civilization and its present stage our verbal mind and its intellectual functioning has been doing so much thinking in making new programmes, storing and classifying a growing fund of data and information that we have begun to experience ourselves performing completely new functions that are unrelated to our survival issues. So we see the emergence of another post-biological mental process and Self in addition to our biological mind and self. 

 

The above functioning of the verbal process gradually permeates into our nonverbal mind, where our emotional processes reside. So our emotional capability reacts to these inputs from our post-biological mind and as a result of that interaction it grows. And in this process as in all interactions something is retained and something is rejected but there is change nevertheless. Thus our emotive process also undergoes a change as a result of the interaction with the growing intellectual output from the verbal mind. These changes in the emotional process, along with the experience of being engaged in that process, also go into the new emerging post-biological self.  The modified emotional process then informs the intellectual process of those parts of the new discoveries of information and deeper truths that it finds emotionally relevant and the ones it does not. So the emotional process now has a modified shopping list, and it works as a customer for the labors of the verbal mind. And by becoming a customer it becomes a partner in the process. That is another dimension of the new growing Self which now has another set of emerging capabilities beyond those of survival, and in the context of things which have hitherto been irrelevant to the biological evolutionary mode. 

The evolution of this new post-biological or mental Self actually constitutes a qualitatively different evolutionary process. Let us see what makes it so.  

 

How the emerging mental phenomenon is a different evolutionary process with a different destination 

First and foremost, the new mental self or phenomenon has a destination other than the destination of the biological process. The destination of the latter was to comfortably succeed in ensuring survival of a species during its biologically programmed timespan, in reproducing, and then training the new generation in the mode of survival. The aim was to survive, improve upon the genetic code for survival, and through reproduction pass it to the next generation. For the species as a collective, the inputs from the specimens when put together in a general reproductive process for the species, produced a much bigger genetic fund in the survival mode. Out of that bigger, more complex and richer genetic fund with reference to the practical experiences of different generations of any species, new permutations and combinations of survival capabilities arose, resulting in the emergence of more efficient survival capabilities. This was the nature and destination of the biological evolutionary process. The biological survival process becomes more efficient through a random mixture of genes and experience with reference to a given environmental context. In this way specimens are able to come up with a more efficient and subjectively satisfying mode of survival. They are able to genetically produce what it takes to achieve the new capabilities. This is evolution within the parameters of biology. Similarly, when we talk of mental evolution it means the emergence of a self-sufficient mental process capable of functioning autonomously in an environment. And this process like the biological process can become better and more efficient through exploring more permutations and combinations, with one difference. In the biological process it was done on the basis of genetic fund coupled with the pragmatic doing of specimens driven by the survival mode. This was a programmed process in which genetic capabilities were utilized pragmatically (with reference to practical experience) for a question whose parameters were determined by the survival mode. There is a lot of randomness in this process too but programme is its high watermark, or its highest character. The programming of the biological process includes reprogramming on a pragmatic basis. This is broadly referred to as the programmed process. 

In mental processes this process is an intellectual process. Here we are not being pragmatic, but analytical. We are starting with questions which do not concern our survival but which arise out of the growing capabilities of our verbal mind. We want to discover deeper truths which are not susceptible to an empirical observation. So here we have determined a different destination, and criteria, and are using a different methodology. Instead of just being pragmatic we are using analytical and theorizing capabilities. In the animal stage of evolution we do not theorize, we solve a problem pragmatically. Due to these features, in our view, mental evolution is a qualitatively different evolutionary process. There is another reason which can be discerned if we trace the history of Nature. We know today that there are different levels of evolution in Nature based on different directions, components, modes and levels of capabilities. So Nature did not begin with a biological process. There were earlier levels of inorganic geological process, and before that massless energy processes going back to the pre-big bang period of Nature. In those levels there was no programming or pragmatism but only the random logic process. So they were earlier and different evolutionary processes from the biological process. 

Coming to the present plane of mental evolution, if we look back upon the previous levels of evolution through which natural history has passed, we get a sense about the overall direction of the macro natural process as a whole, which includes the biological process but is not limited to or by it. When we plot these categories of evolutionary levels in macro Nature and draw a line through them and bring that line to where we are and then extend it further on the same axis then we can logically see where it is going.  We can see that these various levels differing in qualities and capabilities is an ascending curve. The qualities and capabilities have been increasing with every level. So what we find is that it is going towards an expanding harmony and a diminishing contradiction. And then we find the addition of two other components; a growing intelligence and a growing pleasure process. These are the three features of the path that macro Nature has been taking in its journey–growing harmony, intelligence, and pleasure. In this context the new post-biological (which includes biology) mental process and mental Self discussed above is an evolutionary process which is an integral part of the historical macro evolutionary process and therefore has a future direction and destination which lies on that path. And we can identify that direction and path in specific terms. This is also why the new mental process, is not a biological mind but a post-biological mind which is another evolutionary process referred to as ‘mental’ evolution rather than ‘biological’ evolution. And just as in the case of biological evolution the mental processes were secondary, as we proceed in this direction we will find the biological processes becoming more and more secondary. The life of the new post-biological mental processes will become primary. Today we can see them going into territories which we cannot foresee at this stage, so they will continue to evolve further.

 

post-civilization mental process emerged with the beginning of reflection and thinking and proceeds on that basis; it is not trying to survive. And these processes are not a dry dead thing but represent a much richer life form than all the previous levels of evolution in terms of macro Nature’s direction of a growing harmony, intelligence and pleasure. Of course this does not mean that the previous life forms are negated. They are very much incorporated and integrated and there is a qualitative upgrading of the life process as a whole.  So the mental evolutionary process is another life mission.

 

If we do not go in this direction of change and evolution then the new emerging post-biological mind and Self and its capabilities will enter into an unintelligent contradiction with their biological evolutionary stage. And this contradiction will not just be within the specimen but intra-species, i.e. both at the personal and social levels. So it will be a spiral of contradictions. In the past we achieved some satisfaction, improvement and betterment as we were fulfilling the preconditions for launching into the mental evolutionary stage. But if we don’t proceed to the next level of this stage then we will only be sticking out like a sore thumb in the natural process of evolution and will keep going against its logical direction and destination. And in the process damage and destroy ourselves as specimens and species.  For Nature this is not a problem so we will be the losers in this process.

 

Notes

i. Learning to work together in groups to produce new products, dependence on products of man,

expropriation of contributions of group members, class society and so on.  

 

ii. Through accumulated and highly expanded word based memory and writing.  

iii. In accordance with the basic genetic framework and the motivations it produced. 

iv. General knowledge means deeper and not superficial knowledge about many subjects. 

v. Deeper information is what is not within the reach of our perceptual capabilities, or lies beyond the

plane of the data stored on our mental hard disk from all sources – reading, writing hearing and observation.