December 26, 2016

Can We Evolve Beyond Evolution? We Have To.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

By Deepak Chopra, MD


At the very moment when our planet is well into an ecological crisis, human beings need to evolve with the conscious purpose of setting aside our selfish impulses and start acting for the survival of all living things. I don’t think I’ve made a radical statement–almost anyone who takes climate change seriously would agree. But there’s a sticking point, which is evolution itself. The standard Darwinian position, which is universally taught in biology classes, is entirely mechanical and without purpose.


Therefore, it is extremely difficult to form a set of beliefs that is evolutionary and purposeful at the same time. In a recent piece in the New York Times titled “Can Evolution Have a ‘Higher Purpose’?” the author, Robert Wright, attempts to square the circle with the following statement: “Evolution can have a purpose even if it is a wholly mechanical, material process — that is, even if its sole engine is natural selection. After all, clocks have purposes — to keep time, a purpose imparted by clockmakers — and they’re wholly mechanical.” Wright, a visiting professor of science and religion at Union Theological Seminary, touches upon the crux of the matter. Words like direction, purpose, and meaning have long been banished from the standard view of evolution. Bringing them back is a tentative proposition, and those who gingerly attempt it must also indicate their obeisance to the basic randomness of Darwin’s theory.


I’d like to offer a simple counter argument. There is no evidence that Homo sapiens–the species that you and I belong to–is bound anymore by Darwinian rules. We take care of the weak in our society, while in the state of nature the weak perish. We share food. We develop philosophies and build societies based on our higher brain. As a result, we generate our own purpose; it isn’t generated by a mechanical or materialistic process. To go even further, we know the consequences of our actions and therefore can predict which actions are evolutionary for our species and which are not.


The real problem is that human purposes are at odds with each other, as witness the self-serving arguments of climate change deniers who are ushering in a post-fact, post-reality view of the world. That, however, isn’t my point in writing this post. My point is that we need to evolve beyond evolutionary theory. The mechanistic processes that underlie it are a useful model created by the human mind and nothing more. It’s high time we abandoned a model that views Nature as without meaning or purpose when we humans stand as glaring exceptions, being driven by meaning and purpose and unable to survive when these are stripped from us.


To evolve beyond evolutionary theory means accepting the following propositions:

— The reality we accept is a human construct.

— Its building blocks are experience, perception, feelings, and thoughts. these exist entirely in consciousness.

— We should see ourselves as conscious creators who imbue reality with our own purposes. Instead, we build models, become comfortable with them, and eventually forget that they are simply thought-models, not reality.

— In fact, we have no idea what thoughts actually are or where they come from. No one has the ability to predict his next thought.

— Science is a way of thinking. It has no privileged position beyond other methods of thought, because science is just as blind to what thought actually is as any other mind-created model.

— We only know that we are conscious, and until we follow this knowledge until it leads us to the source of consciousness, anything else we claim to know is suspect.


Consciousness-based reality, which is what these propositions support, isn’t new. In fact, it constitutes the mainstream of human thought until the modern scientific era. Thanks to its tremendous ascendancy as a practical way to look at the world, measure phenomena, and develop technologies, science has been able to avoid, or even deny, the obvious fact that it cannot explain consciousness, much less the intricacies of the human mind.


This denial is like a fish denying the existence of water, because without consciousness, science cannot exist. Therefore, a useful shortcut to explain how life operates, which is basically what evolutionary theory provides, can’t really help in showing us how to consciously evolve. In a Darwinian world, consciousness consists, at best, in instinctual drives. Roping Homo sapiens into the same corral as flatworms and honeybees is ludicrous on the face of it, and only the dogma of accepted theory keeps such an irrational scheme going.


By facing this fact, we can start the process of redefining ourselves in terms of consciousness, and once we do that, there is hope for our own evolution. Conscious decision-making can save the planet and our species. Holding on to outworn selfish motives will likely doom both, however long it takes. 


DEEPAK CHOPRA, MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor UCSD Medical School, researcher, Neurology and Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD  and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.


Write Your Comment

  1. Solongo Klawitter

    When people called you fake I was protecting you. Just be humble with your discoveries

  2. Solongo Klawitter

    When people called you fake I was protecting you. Just be humble with your discoveries

  3. Solongo Klawitter

    When people called you fake I was protecting you. Just be humble with your discoveries

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