Is there an intrinsic intent in the universe to evolve brains capable of awareness of Mind? That’s a religious and philosophical question of course, not one that can be answered by science.
Holding a belief, or even an opinion, either way closes out enquiry, which is never-ending. The belief in God is just as antithetical to the awareness of Mind as the belief that there is nothing beyond the human mind, perhaps more so.
This is my proposed insight: The evolution of ‘higher thought’ makes awareness of the numinous possible, but at the same it is the greatest impediment to such awareness. That contradiction lies at the very core of the human condition, but it is within our capacity to resolve it.
As things stand, we accept contradiction as a given, an intrinsic aspect of the human condition. One of the characteristics of a philosopher however, is someone with a low threshold for contradiction. And the ultimate contradiction is between man’s separative consciousness and the seamless processes of nature. How and why did evolution make such a mistake as man?
Separation without insight inevitably results in fragmentation. As others have pointed out, the climate crisis represents the sum total of all environmental problems—deforestation, over-fishing, freshwater depletion, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, chemical contamination, etc. Man’s decimation of the earth is fundamentally a result of the misuse of our separative capabilities, with which evolution endowed us but for which we haven’t had the wisdom to constrain.
If direct or indirect contact is made with intelligent life on other planets, we’ll find out whether all creatures evolving the capability for symbolic thought go through the same crisis of fragmentation that is coming to a head with humans on this planet. But neither the earth nor the human spirit can wait for such knowledge.
Besides, it may be that truly intelligent beings cannot contact potentially intelligent beings until they resolve the existential contradiction posed by the evolution of symbolic thought, and cease fragmenting their planet and themselves all to hell.
The mind/brain can see without symbols, but to see things as they are and have insight into them thought must be quiet. This is why the art of meditation is so important, because through undivided observation one awakens the capacity in the human mind for direct perception and insight.
Direct perception and insight are the foundation within the individual for connecting with the cosmic mind and the sacredness that imbues the universe. There is an intelligence beyond thought; it is arrogant and self-centered to maintain that we cannot see except through the words, images, and theories generated by the human mind.
Returning to the religious/philosophical question: Is there an intrinsic intent in cosmic evolution to evolve brains like ours? In other words, does evolution unfold, in a random way, toward brains capable of awareness of Mind?
I feel so, though it doesn’t make humans the center of the universe, or mean a human-like brain is the goal of evolution. Something vast is going on in the universe. Take care of your brain.
Despite many more people on a Sunday afternoon than when I’ve been here during the week, it’s still a very quiet place at the mountain reservoir. Over a quarter mile away across the lake, some kids at a picnic site can’t handle the silence, and make incessant and weird noises.
Just as they leave, a gaggle of garrulous adult cyclists stream in. From hundreds of meters away, one hears conversations in a normal voice almost as if in the same room. And their voices are loud. After they disappear into the woods behind me, an eagle leisurely soars over the water.
I watch as it hovers almost motionlessly for a few seconds. Then, one wing pointing skyward, it careens down to the water, breaking the smooth surface. Laboriously lofting itself into the air, it holds a large fish in its talons! As if to show off its prize, the eagle curves across the inlet directly toward me. Perpendicular to its body is a big trout, almost as long as the raptor itself.
The mind effortlessly quiets down in harmony with the palpable silence of the place. I hear a zipping sound behind me. A few seconds later, a duck flies over at considerable height. It literally sounds like it is unzipping the air.
A nearly noiseless small boat, powered by a little electric motor, trolls the calm waters, a taut fishing line trailing behind it. As the descending sun illumines the water, the whole scene, involving all of one’s senses, overwhelms one, and the body becomes completely motionless.
The silence of the place is so intense that it instantly engulfs every sound, natural or man-made. The reactions of thought, which stem from memory, become so trivial that the entire mechanism completely shuts down.
Then there is simply listening, and in that silence the listening takes the brain to ineffable depths. The brain comes into contact with something beyond all knowing, the quintessence people have sought since time immemorial.