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Is Evolution Psychosomatic?

John Davidson is the author of a series of five books on Science and Mysticism which look at the natural world from a mystical perspective. Natural Creation or Natural Selection A Complete New Theory of Evolution is the most recent in this series. The author is a Cambridge science graduate with a life-long interest in mysticism. 8 Copyright 1993, 2014 John Davidson www.johndavidson.org

Dogma and Evolution It takes the power of strong dogma to observe the fossil and geological record and deny that the outward forms of species have changed considerably over the course of the last several hundred million years. No serious scientist denies this. This process of change, however, is commonly called evolution which implies that the change has been no mere adaptation to changing circumstances, but a definite progression towards something higher and better. Such a idea is not so readily observable in the fossil record and requires a great deal of special pleading and interpretation of the data to fit the theory. Moreover, while the evidence of change cannot really be disputed, the means by which this change comes about is entirely another matter. Darwin championed the idea of natural selection of chance mutations as the force which drives the change and he also believed in the concept of progress or evolution from what he perceived as the lower to the higher. Very few alternative driving forces have been suggested as the mediatior of this change and though many people are uncomfortable with the idea of chance and natural selection it remains the standard textbook explanation. Consequently, while the changeover of species as the aeons roll by is demonstrable, the means by which this takes place is not. The theory of chance and natural selection remains just that a theory. If it were demonstrable beyond a shadow of doubt then most of the argument and discussion would have stopped and it has not. There is, moreover, a third feature, also an undemonstrable idea, which has been built into modern evolutionary theory. That is, the origin of life itself. In this respect, Darwin was a creationist. He believed that God had initially created just one or a few creatures to set the ball rolling. Most modern evolutionists have a radically different point of view. They align themselves to the Bing Bang theory in which matter is supposed to have come out of nowhere in a Big Bang. Slowly it cooled down and coalesced, organizing itself in a most creditable astronomical fashion, and, in the ancient muds of our primeval planet, produced some single-1-

celled creature from which everything else has developed. But neither the creation of one or a few starter creatures, as Darwin proposed, nor the spontaneous creation of life forms out of ancient muds are demonstrable. Nor are they even very satisfying, intellectually. As a theory, natural selection and the survival of the fittest presuppose the existence of chance. Yet, what is chance to one man is determinism to another to whom all the relevant data is known. Before we can gauge the truth or otherwise of natural selection, therefore, it would be well to understand the nature of chance. Is there really such a thing as chance? This, however, following the conventional approach, immediately takes us into the realm of metaphysics and philosophy. Evolutionary theory, then, considered in its entirety, is a mixed theory of science and metaphysics. As such, it is always likely to contain undemonstrable elements which should never have become the subject of dogmatism. Nor indeed should it be taught in schools to children as the Utterly Accepted Truth. It should only be put forward as a possibility.

What of Life, Mind and Consciousness? The subject can be approached from another point of view. We are studying the nature of life and life-processes as if they are something out there. But we are alive, right now, within ourselves. So if we came to fully understand the nature of that life, then maybe we could also come to know the means whereby as well as the reasons why there has been so much change. I am not referring here to the intellectual kind of study but to the study of consciousness by consciousness itself. This is the mystical approach. Just as we know that the sun is shining by experience alone, rather than by a process of logical deduction, so too have mystics said that the mind and consciousness have faculties by which the higher things of life may be known, beyond the sphere of intellectual activity. Mystics have said many things, many of them seemingly paradoxical, but one on which they all appear to be agreed is that mans reality or true self is his own being not his body. This may be called his consciousness or soul. And associated with this, as the modulator of his being, is his mind. Let us define our terms, since such words mean different things to different people. Being, soul or consciousness is the stable centre or source of life within a creature man or otherwise. Mind is that which shifts and moves and it is also far more than just the mind of man. Jung spoke of a Collective Unconscious. I have written previously in terms of a Formative Mind. Other have called it by other names. In man, the mind expresses itself as his thoughts, emotions, memories and other mental faculties. In nature, the greater or formative mind lies behind the panorama of time, of change, of the cycling of the seasons, or order and organization. It is the pattern within which is observed as the pattern without. It is also that which lies behind what we call chance. Eastern mystics have called it the law of karma, the law of action or the law of cause and effect. Mystics and philosophers from amongst the Celts and Druids, the ancient European races before the advent of catholic Christianity, certain ancient elements of Judaism and Christianity, possibly including Jesus, Pythagoras, Plato and the Greek mystics, the Sufis, Buddha, the third century Mani and his successors, the yogis and Saints of India, China and the East all these and more have spoken of reincarnation and the law of cause and effect. They all say that the soul goes around in a cycle of birth and death under the influence of the mind with which it is associated.

Everything that a person thinks and does, his desires and actions, leave their impressions upon the mind, like the electronic tracings in the black box flight recorder of an aeroplane. Though the aeroplane may be dead, broken into a thousand pieces every action and movement is recorded in seed form in that black box. Similarly, the mind records everything and when the body dies, a new body and a new life or destiny are created out of the seeds of the past. The individual minds of all incarnating creatures are a part of one, hidden Collective Unconscious or Formative Mind, out of which their future destiny is fabricated. According to this law, then, individual bodies are actually an expression of these mental seeds. Contrary to the ideas of material science, the mind (and consciousness) are not the expressions or derivatives of the body, the body is an expression of the mind. This means that a particular soul gets a body and a destiny which mirrors the hidden impressions within their individual mind. To get the body of a bird, you need the mind of a bird. To get the body of a dog, you need the mind of a dog. To get the body of a dinosaur, you need the mind of a dinosaur. To get a human body, you need at least some mental qualities that are uniquely human.

Mind and Evolution Now it is clear that in this scenario which I must agree can be taken as a theory only, until you have had a mystic experience that has proved or disproved it there is no room for chance. Everything is determined by the hidden processes of the greater mind, according to the law of karma, a law of cause and effect that operates in the mental sphere as well as in the physical, with which we are familiar. There is no room in this picture for even the slightest degree of signal noise or randomness. Everything is charted. Even the hairs on your head are numbered. And in this scenario, it is the mind which is driving the change amongst the species. I would suggest, then, that it is the mind, not chance, which mediates the processes of evolution. How can this be better understood? One of the most significant discoveries of modern medicine is the placebo effect. That is, that the mind alone can mediate pathological change within the body. In America, trials show that 50% of people get better if given a chalk pill which they think will cure them. (Maybe Americans are more gullible than the rest, for the figure found in European countries is more in the order of 3040%!) Furthermore, as every observant person realizes, many conditions of the body are closely linked to the individuals personal psychology. Doctors and therapists routinely tell their patients that mental stress is causing a strain upon their physical well-being. That the mind effects the body is observable to normal human perceptions. But the extent to which this is so is only observable to mystic perceptions and is a part of the law of karma. Now if it is conceded that all bodily processes are at least affected if not completely controlled by more subtle mental processes, then why not the genes that are put forward and selected for the next round of the reproductive cycle? In other words, is evolution psychosomatic? The degree of order and organization in living bodies and cells is incredible, far more than that of (so-called) inert matter. Fritz-Albert Popp once calculated that in the cucumber seedlings on which he was working, there were something like 100,000 inter-molecular reactions per cell per second. Imagine what it must be like in a warm or hot-blooded human being! And

there are billions upon billions of cells all in a hyper-active yet organized and integrated state, all of them working together with an amazing degree of order and co-operation. What I am suggesting is that whatever processes of order there may be at the physical level, these are all patterned from a more subtle place by activities within the mind. Given this degree of order, therefore and our admittedly limited understanding of even the physical, let alone the more subtle processes why should it not be possible for reproductive and genetic processes to be under the same degree of control? After all, if they are not, then that is the only area of activity in living systems which is not in such a highly ordered state. Even by conventional theory one would have expected genetic processes to have evolved a way of being specifically responsive to the environment, rather than placing a reliance upon chance! What this means in practice is that both Darwin and Lamark were right, but that both were only perceiving a slit-window view of the affair. There is a selection of genes for the next reproductive round but the mediator is the mind, not chance. And the environment can determine the change amongst the species because the mind is affected by the environment. If environmental stress effects general body physiology, there would seem to be no reason why it cannot affect genetic function, too. In fact, from the viewpoint of the law of karma, what we call the environment is simply an expression of the formative or greater mind, the Collective Unconscious, all creatures being co-creators of the environment in which they live. From the outside, it may appear that things are happening by chance, but if one could see things from a higher point of view, then the element of chance would be seen as illusory. After all, if we can have laws of chance, as in statistics and quantum physics, then it means that there is order and not chaos. The fact that we cannot perceive that order is our deficiency. It does not mean that nature is fundamentally chaotic. Just as a man who peeps through a keyhole can get a limited view of what is happening inside a room, so too are our sensory perceptions and intellectual cogitations thereon no more than a keyhole view. Our view is good so far as it goes, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

An Alternative Perspective? This, then, is a proposition and an inroad into an alternative perspective on what we call evolution or change amongst the species. And even if it be insisted that the mind has no separate existence from the body but arises as the result of brain physiology, biochemistry and electro-chemical activity, we still know so little of its functioning that if it is held to be responsible for placebo effects, then why not for overall genetic function, too? This article is necessarily short and many other factors should also be considered. How, for example, in a cosmos where mind creates bodies, and consciousness or soul gives life to the mind, could there be a Big Bang and what we call matter in the absence of mind, consciousness and life? How then did life originate? In fact, what do we mean by such origination? Further, it is well understood that creatures create their own environment. In a microcosm, this is what building a home is all about, whatever kind of species you may be. But from a wider point of view, the temperature of the planet, the existence of the oceans, the presence of

oxygen in the air and the myriad factors fine-tuning our incredible biosphere are all maintained by the living creatures themselves. Even the recycling of eroded rocks and mountains is mediated by trillions of tiny creatures in the sea, aided and abetted by movements of the earths crustal plates from heat generated within the planet by nuclear fission. How could the first creatures, then, have tamed a planet which would have been so hot that it would have roasted them before they fairly started? Primeval muds are a wash-out, as a conception, for mud requires water and water needs a very narrow window of temperatures, presently maintained by the living creatures of our biosphere, themselves. Is there evolution or is there only change? How long has man been here? What about the experiments that seem to indicate the ability of bacterial genetic processes to respond intelligently and consistently to environmental stress in the shape of bacteriocidal substances? And from the point of view of mind and consciousness, what is this spectrum of creatures that we designate as higher and lower? All these factors and far more are considered in greater depth in Natural Creation or Natural Selection? More details in John Davidsons books on Science and Mysticism: Subtle Energy (1987) The Web of Life (1988) The Secret of the Creative Vacuum (1989) Natural Creation and the Formative Mind (1990) Natural Creation or Natural Selection? (1992) www.johndavidson.org