Purpose, Evolution, Aurobindo, and the Quantum
By Amit Goswami, PhD
As every student of science should know, Darwinism is an incomplete theory of evolution. Materialists tout it, of course, as infallible as protectively as religions hold on to their dogma. Yet, in truth, Darwinism, or its offshoot Neo-Darwinism, is not even strictly compatible with scientific materialism because it borrows a concept of conscious experience—the concept of survival. If you believe that biology is chemistry is physics as propounded by molecular biology, you must find survivability in the properties of molecules themselves. But all attempts to demonstrate that have failed (see my book Creative Evolution for details).
Neo-Darwinism’s failure to explain the experimental data of fossil gaps (I wouldn’t consider the unverifiable theory of geographical isolation as science; you should not either) and the biological arrow of time—the one-way-ness of the fossil record from simple to complex—is well-known. What is not well-known is that there is another very viable theory of evolution—a theory hinted at in the writings of the Western scientist-philosopher Teilhard the Chardin in his seminal book The Phenomenon of Man and more fully developed by the Eastern spiritual philosopher Sri Aurobindo in his seminal book The Life Divine. These illustrious philosophers successfully outlined a theory of evolution based on consciousness and the conscious purpose in evolution.
In spite of serious efforts, Darwin to his regret was not able to include purpose in his theory, although he clearly recognized the role of purpose in evolution. Within scientific materialism, all change is cause-driven, that is why.
In the quantum worldview, consciousness, in injecting choice to manifest the world of the living, can and does inject purpose at the same time. In this way, what de Chardin and Aurobindo theorized as philosophy becomes a scientifically verifiable hypothesis in quantum science.
Aurobindo already predicted the outcome of the conscious evolution of life: The next evolution is the evolution of the mind from the current era of the rational mind to the era of the quantum intuitive mind in which humans are dominated by the quantum self-experience of intuition. We are in the beginnings of such an era and are witnessing growing pains in the advent of a new era.
One aspect of these growing pains is avoidable: The reluctance of most-materialist thinkers to come to terms with quantum physics. Hence, heed the Dalai Lama’s words once again to overcome your resistance: No model of reality is going to work without the inclusion of quantum physics. Accept it, realize it, and unite under the paradigmatic umbrella of the quantum worldview. Then we can overthrow scientific materialism much faster, integrate science and spirituality and make transformation a force in our life’s journey, and the world will be better for it.
The Evils of (Euro-)modernism: The Difficulties of Being a Westerner
The primacy-of-consciousness way of looking at things has an added scientific advantage. It solves the so-called “hard” problem of neuroscience. The world of objects is half of our experience; the other half is I, the experiencing subject. And a subject is qualitatively different from the objects of experience. When a neurophysiologist says our awareness — the subject-object polarity — arises from the brain, he or she is making what logicians call a categorical mistake. An object, any object including the brain, can never make a subject that experiences an object.
If we start with consciousness, if we posit consciousness, not matter, as the ground of being, the hard problem disappears. An important attribute of consciousness is that it is a whole, in the sense that it is more than its parts. Another way of saying this is this: Consciousness is One without separateness; consciousness cannot be reduced to its parts. The parts are the possibilities that when manifested via choice gives us the experience of an object; and the aspect of the whole that is “more” than the parts manifests as the subject.
Manifests where? In special objects that we call alive or sentient: the living cell and the brain respectively. Manifests how? What is so special about the living cell and the brain? Consciousness contains two kinds of material possibilities. One kind is reducible all the way down to elementary particles of matter, the little grains or quanta that cannot be broken down any further. The other kind is a whole: They cannot be reduced entirely to their parts; the whole is greater than the parts. It is this irreducible whole — “tangled hierarchical” potentialities to be specific — that when manifest can make a representation of consciousness that we experience as a self or a subject separate from the objects that the subject experiences.
In this way the hard problem of brain science is solved. Unfortunately, there are hard social problems for a Westerner that are much harder to resolve, and that is holding off progress of the worldview change.
I will tell you the secret of why so many scientists hold on to the materialist way of looking at things. They have a major prejudice against consciousness being primary. Analyze closely what the quantum worldview is also saying. It is saying that there are two domains of reality: One domain that we call the domain of consciousness and its possibilities, is the domain of Oneness and potentiality — potential subjects and potential objects; the other domain is the domain of separateness and actuality. For material objects the latter is what we experience as matter moving in space and time. This “two domains of reality” is an old idea; it came from people who are now not a little pejoratively called “mystics.” This mystical idea gave birth to religions. In the West, the oneness was somehow personified as “God,” an almighty individual being, an idea that produced a lot of divisions and a lot of bloodshed in the form of wars in the bloody history of Europe. With this history, who can blame scientists of mostly European origin to be a little touchy about “religious” ideas resurfacing in science?
Now here is the thing. Easterners never denigrated the oneness by calling it God and then personifying it and making wars about whose depiction of God is the right one. Easterners do have the concept of God, but that concept is secondary to Oneness.
There is another straightjacket from which the entire Western culture suffers. Modern science and technology were discovered in the West first. With that added advantage, centuries ago, Westerners, Europeans really, went out to conquer and dominate the East with a vengeance. And largely succeeded, too. Ever since, Westerners as an entire culture look down upon Easterners — “dominators” versus “dominated.” Mysticism is “Eastern” in flavor (how one forgets that Jesus was a mystic! But then of course, he was also from the East!), so it has to be an inferior idea to be thrown away as “nonsense.”
You will find many books written by scientists and philosophers who refute God because of dualism and all that, but they never discuss the Eastern religions that have never succumbed to dualism in a large way. Now you know why; Eastern thinking is regarded as inferior by definition by most people of the Western culture, not worth a discussion.
The same thing is true of North-South polarity. In North America, the native culture was more or less eliminated before awareness came, before they were allowed to make a contribution. In South America, the conquering Southern Europeans allowed themselves to be influenced by the preexisting Shamanic cultures. As a result, the people are less anal retentive and more emotional.
You can defend anal retentivity all you like. Yes, it is true that suppressing emotions increases your efficiency, but it also allows you to be ruthless when negative emotion serves numero uno. This is how all the atrocities of the Imperialist era of the past centuries came about for which there will be comeuppance. Don’t doubt it!
It is not just collective karma. If you wear a straitjacket of nothing but rational thinking, you close yourself to not only emotions but also intuitions. Add the excess information processing that you do today. You get a being that is so contracted that it cannot experience much, if any, expansion of consciousness. In this way, you end up adapting a lifestyle that makes you more and more into a p-robot (philosophical robot) that the materialists profess you are.
Now, with the quantum worldview all that changes. There is no us versus them; it is all us. So, although 85% of humanity is caught up in the struggle for worldview supremacy between religion and scientific materialism, the rest of us, the 15% of more aware humanity will come to your rescue, but we need you to cooperate. Instead of making a wall between the United States and Mexico, we need Americans to open the border more and mix up the two cultures, American and Latino. Instead of making labels for ideas — this is Eastern, this is Western — we need only to acknowledge where an idea originated and let it go at that. This is what I have learned to do. This is what the 15% is doing, and the rest of the Americans, and the rest of humanity all over the world is invited to join this adventure of integration.
And guess what? There is now plenty of evidence collected by ‘’western’’ scientists in support of the theory of reincarnation proposed by ‘’Easterners’’ millennia ago. So, are you really a Westerner? Believe it, you have been born many times as an Easterner in your past! This is one key to overcome this so-called East-West divide that was created only a few centuries ago, but still pervades the western mindset.
There are many militant Indians who want to engage in a battle to take back credit for all the ideas that the West is “supposed” to have stolen from India. I think this kind of movement, if overdone, goes against the grain of the movement of consciousness right now, which is toward unity.
By rejecting other cultures, we, in America and elsewhere, reject useful potentiality that would enrich the entire human experience in the West and the North and the South and the East. Multiculturalism is preferable to cultural exclusivity. The quantum worldview goes even one step further. The old concept of the “melting pot” of all cultures, integrating the exploration of all the different potentialities emphasized by different cultures, is the truly quantum way.
First, they split the Commonwealth
Then, they split Community
State, Civil Society
Then they split the World
Then they split the Corpus
Then they split the atom
(Of course) then, they just split….
[R. Kanth, 2017]
Do you really want to identify with the “Westerner” mindset and archaic Euro-modernism that now has degenerated into Trumpism in America?