Friday, June 23, 2006

More on Evolution and Wilber

More dialogs on integral evolution. A continuation from below:

Jana wrote:

But Ken is not ordering anything, he is observing a priori order that has been noted throughout the centuries by thinkers.

This conversation requires the strictest discipline and a full glossary of agreed upon terms...I am not sure if I am up to such heavy duty philosophizing.

Ken said in 93 that ever since the Big Bang Theory cosmology has made "idealists" of us all. If you can accept the Big Bang Theory you can accept anything.

Notice his diplomacy at using the term idealists rather than mystics...just that one word choice says alot.

Personally although Ken obviously has a passion for order, I do think that he is quite at home with chaos as well. Remember his comments on how second tier growth of his organization was just as much about falling apart as it was putting things together...he rather revelled in the chaos of it at the time.

Can I suggest some reading of Stuart Hameroff and how proteins are formed through quantum processes.
And also Eric Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened for a plasma physics understanding of cosmology.
And a farout meditation on chaos by these three dudes:
Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness by Rupert Sheldrake, Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham

Perhaps it is our job in our lifetime to figure out just how holozoic the universe actually is and the difference between consciousness, energy and matter.

Ilya Prigonine proved that order emerges not in spite of chaos, but because of it. He found that growth and evolution involve open systems undergoing temporary dissolution, in order to reorganize at a higher level of complexity and function. “The perturbed mind is a mind in the act of rediscovering the Nature outside of culture.” Terrence McKenna. A direct Gnostic experience of reality requires that cultural filters first be dissolved—“The kind of activity which dominates the instability phase introduces a directness, a vector which already indicates in which direction the new structure maybe expected.” Erich Jantsch, The Self Organizing Universe.

“The earlier concept of a universe made up of physical particles interacting according to fixed laws in no longer tenable. It is implicit in present findings that action rather than matter is basic…This is good news, for it is no longer appropriate to think of the universe as a gradually subsiding agitation of billiard balls. The universe far from being a desert of inert particles, is a theatre of increasingly complex organization…a stage for development in which man has a definite place, without any upper limit to his evolution.” Arthur M. Young, The Reflexive Universe

Broken Yogi replied:

Well, first off, if you can accept that Wilber is not ordering anything, you could also probably accept him as the true Avatar of the Age. This is a guy who has spent his whole life constructed the most detailed, organized maps of everything in the universe, and coming up with grand organizational theories about how it all works. If you don't call that "ordering", then I don't know what could qualify.

But as for evolution, I think that many of the thinkers you mention are also guilty of category confusion, of mixing metaphysics with physics. I think there's a good reason for this that has to do with evolution itself, which is that for that last 50,000 years or so, since the beginnings of what might be called human culture, our minds have been evolving in a completely different way than our bodies have, or that the rest of nature has evolved. Cultural evolution, intellectual evolution, spiritual evolution, social evolution, has leapfrogged beyond the mundane confines of gross physical evolution. It has truly entered a "metaphysical" level of evolution, and so naturally we, as intellectual creatures, can't help but see the process of evolution in metaphysical terms. When we look at gross human evolution, it somehow just seems "right" to us that evolution should involve some kind of "intelligent design" or some kind of metaphysical principle of consciousness that guides it, because that is how our minds are evolving. Yet when we do physical science, we don't find any evidence for that. Instead we find this rather mundane and somewhat random process of simple mutation and natrual selection. We somehow imagine that can't be right, because it isn't how we live. We live in a metaphysical reality made by mind that evolves along a wholy different order of things. Intellect, culture, society, spiritual intuition, religious thoughts, do not evolve the way physical organisms do, but we think they must. It's hard facing up to the fact that the mind operates by principles not otherwise found in nature. It's a different order of evolution, and we have a hard time distinguishing between the two. Science is a discipline, however, that requires us to distinguish between the two, and not impose a metaphysical explanation on the physical world. Likewise, metaphysicians like Wilber should have the discipline to both resist scientific impositions on metaphysics, and metaphysical forays into science.

I think there's a way through this, but its not something Wilber is yet clear about. As far as big bang theory goes, I have no problem with it on a scientific level. I think its as accurate as physical science can get. Onthe metaphysical level, I think bindu theory has the right answers. In this view, our entire physical universe is actually just a bindu of light that expands when attention is put on it. As it expands, the light forms all the galaxies and planets and every form and element, including our bodies. This happens in consciousness, and it doesn't take any time at all, it creates time through attention itself. WIthin the universe, it appears as if the universe exploded out of a singularity and took billions of years to get to this point. From the point of view of consciousness, it was just a bindu expanding through attention - one of an infinite number of bindus, any one of which expands into a universe when attention is put on it. When attention is withdrawn from the bindu, it contracts back down to a point of light. It depends on attention. One can transcend attention, and all bindus, or one can buy into the bindu world and act as if it is real. What's important to realize is that we are inside the bindu, and inside the bindu the laws of the bindu apply. So it looks entirely like a real world that exploded out of a singularity, and all physical laws and investigations will only confirm that diagnosis. So science is right at the level of physics about the big bang. And metaphysics is right about this being a bindu of light. But metaphysics is not right about any of this at the level of physics, nor is physics right about things at the level of metaphysics. They are each trying to impose their own view upon the other.

Its a similar principle with evolution. Metaphysically, evolution does work as a oonscious, intelligent design. But physically, it doesn't, it works by random mutation and natural selection. One has to step out of the world to see how evolution works metaphyisally.

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