Why a new intellectual framework is needed for understanding our hitherto and future evolution beyond its biological dimension and as a product of macro Nature 

    Up to now whenever we have undertaken a process of intelligently (not reactively or in pursuit of some agenda) reflecting upon our own selves then we first identify ourselves as individual persons. And when we decide to go further and place our individuality in the context of a larger framework then we think of Darwin and his work on the evolution of living species. We see ourselves as belonging to that evolutionary process (a historical extension of it) and emerging out of it as mankind. So within mankind spread over a long period of history we identify ourselves as individuals. Furthermore, we seem to be intellectually satisfied with this contextual frame in which we place ourselves as individuals. So whenever we proceed to think more about ourselves we keep going back and forth between the individual that each one of us is and the outer framework, i.e. the species and its evolution, to which we belong. We keep relating them. In this way we feel satisfied that we have a frame of reference for our individual selves, which tells us where we are coming from and how we have become what we are. On this basis then we proceed to explain our various components i.e. our physiology, psychology, physical and mental capabilities, needs, desires, ideas, and so on. 

The problem is that this existing intellectual framework impresses upon our minds a ‘biological’ identity. Of course we also think about our mental processes like emotions, ideas, thoughts, etc., as a part of ourselves, but basically we see ourselves as biological beings. 

The first error in this thought arises when we take the step of installing the first conceptual building block in search of our identity i.e. tracing it to biology or biological species, whether cockroaches, or the first unicellular organisms like paramecium or amoeba. We lay the foundations of our concept about ourselves as a biological being. The second error is the implicit assumption that not only did we begin with biological formations in Nature but the ingredients (existing in Nature) that constituted biology in its origins are the only ingredients that constitute us and also concern us. So in effect we define our identity within the parameters of the constituents of the biological beginnings in Nature, which is a fundamental error. There is no logical reason or factual justification for assuming that once biology emerged it drew a circle around it that excluded all things in Nature other than the known biological elements, components or constituents. Both physical and intellectual observation and thinking tell us that the processes in Nature are highly coextensive regardless of the various labels we attach to them such as ‘geological’, ‘botanical’, ‘biological’, ‘molecular’, ‘atomic’ and so on. These distinctions are really a reflection of the way in which our minds have inquired, investigated and probed into Nature and not Nature itself as it exists. Nature itself is enormously homogenous, with no insurmountable boundaries operating among any of the stages in its history or any of the segments which constitute its existence. Thus, in macro terms, Nature is one homogenous process, and not discrete, distinct or separate processes.

It may be the case that all distinct phenomena that emerge at various evolutionary stages of Nature are necessarily included in each particular phenomenon or the opposite might be the case. Due to the various ways in which and the extent to which phenomena emerge we do not know if all of them impact on each other. But we should not be surprised if our knowledge eventually reveals that all phenomena in Nature are impacting upon each other and the variations lie in the extent and the degree to which one phenomenon impacts upon the other. So the mixture might be different in the case of each phenomenon. The reason for proposing the above is that the general process in macro Nature exists in terms of stages of interaction. Process by definition includes the concept of time. There would be no process unless it was spread over time. Where time is not an independent thing in Nature but a characteristic, or quality of the phenomenon of ‘process’. ‘Process’ itself is a generic phenomenon which applies to all other sub-phenomena. The macro process of Nature is ‘process’. So it is in time that various processes keep interacting and happening, and all this takes place logically. Furthermore, there are two kinds of progression of processes in Nature. One is the progression in time, i.e. what happens when. The other is the progression of complexity, i.e. how one level of simplicity leads to a more complex process. The former is a mental abstraction (as concept of time in our minds but reality as process), while the latter is an objective reality. But we can observe and discern both of them. Now, complexity clearly implies that more and more constituents or components that Nature has already produced are functionally and operatively incorporated into that greater complexity. This means the evolutionary process in Nature is growing and evolving complexity, which would be incorporating more and more forms and processes at every stage of its progression. 

The classification we make between the different varieties of phenomena is really a reflection of our own ability to know and understand Nature rather than Nature itself. And we know that this ability of identification emerges out of the tools available to us for observation and investigation at a certain stage and point in time. It is perhaps in this way more than in any objective manner that we have made classifications between phenomena of one variety and another.  

Logically there is no reason to assume that a phenomenon is circumscribed by the tools, (including tools of knowledge) which we have employed to investigate or discover that phenomenon and its working. If we look at it from the standpoint of the source of all phenomena, i.e. Nature, our divisions and distinctions of the varieties of phenomena are really artificial. So we need to get over this error in our approach that biology is something completely distinct, discrete or separate from other branches of phenomena in Nature. That is not so and in fact it is far more interactive than all other phenomena.

Thus, when we look at Man and his evolution in this context then we may come to the conclusion that fundamentally he is not a biological phenomenon. In terms of his physical attributes like weight and size he can be viewed as more biological. But then his functioning and role as a phenomenon is not determined by the weight and size of his constituting components and elements but the logic by which he is held together, as a phenomenon. And the logic by which he functions, and by which he has evolved until this point, and continues to evolve. On this note we will find Man to be a product of macro Nature. He is the most advanced stage of complexity in Nature. Because when we observe the universe, including galaxies, stars, planets and so on, we find man to be the most complex and latest phenomenon in the progression of Nature’s evolution. He incorporates far more elements, constituents and functions than all other phenomena in Nature. So we need to take a fresh look at ourselves, without being overwhelmed by the biological aspect, and see ourselves as a natural process in Nature. When we intelligently reflect upon and think about ourselves then we need to identify ourselves as the latest and most advanced specimen of complexity in Nature and also the cutting edge of Nature’s evolutionary technology.  

 

Why contemporary man has not been focusing on further human evolution on the mental plane

Since the main accent of our evolutionary thinking, which subscribes to the Darwinian intellectual framework, has been biological evolution of animals hence we have not really been focusing on human evolution, especially its future course and direction. The problem is that it is not possible to understand human evolution within the framework of our observation and understanding of animal evolution, with its focus on biological features, processes and changes. Our physical (including laboratory) observation of animal life informs us that its evolution is a product of the post-Big Bang world. That is, it encompasses the post-big bang atomic, molecular, geological, botanical and biological phases of evolution. So if we were to see and understand human evolution in this framework then we would only be looking for new biological features and design. And that we do not really find. Contemporary thinkers are unable to find any signs or indicators of major biological changes taking place in humans since they became Homo Sapiens.  There is evidence of minor superficial changes during the journey of Homo Sapiens to modern humans but no major structural biological changes. And no such changes are expected in the foreseeable future also. Due to this framework and direction of our hitherto evolutionary thought, which we acquired in the last two centuries or so, we are unable to observe an on-going evolutionary process in human beings, which is not just a post-big bang biological process. 

 

In the case of human beings the evolutionary process is proceeding primarily through their mental processes rather than through biological processes. Of course changes in mental processes of animals have also been observed for instance in the changing body-brain ratio between different animal species, but these have been viewed as secondary changes. With the result that the main focus of Evolutionary studies remained biological features and changes and the theme of survival of the fittest as a biological issue. Due to this habit of looking at evolution primarily in biological terms, they do not observe and notice an ongoing evolutionary process in human beings in terms of their mental processes. In their view evolution as far as human beings are concerned has been put on the back burner. If we accept the proposition that the primary mode and form that evolution takes today in human beings is the evolution of their mental processes then we also need to understand that this process is not just a post-big bang phenomenon. Then it is a macro Nature phenomenon; a phenomenon which is a product of unified Nature in terms of all space and time (as processes). Evolution proceeding in terms of mental processes will have to be seen as a manifestation and off shoot of the evolution of macro Nature itself, which is not only in terms of atoms, molecules and biology. This means that mental processes involve not only the post-big bang molecular and biological processes but also pre-big bang components and processes, which we have sufficiently discussed elsewhere. Now this involves a major intellectual shift, if we are going to identify and focus on the process of further human evolution. It is intellectually a completely different framework. And it is through this that we will be able to identify the parameters and channel of further human evolution on the mental plane. 

 

 

 

Notes

i.  Belonging to a particular ‘category’ of tools in terms their making, evolution and knowledge about them. 

ii. In our view that is not the whole truth. We suggest the involvement of pre-big bang processes even in the evolution of animal life. 

iii. Of course when genetic engineering matures in future then we can surely design new biological changes but that is not in the near future. 

iii. Of course when genetic engineering matures in future then we can surely design new biological changes but that is not in the near future.