Keywords: Crisis darwinism, integral paradigm, alternative hypothesis, divergent-convergent spiral evolution, accelerated rhythm, teleology, singularity, omega point, syntropy, musical harmonics, stationary waves, quantum leaps, evolutive discontinuity, fractal time, holographic universe, big history, macrocosmos (paleontology, anthropology, history), microcosmos (embriology, psychology), ontogeny-philogeny, spectrum energy-consciousness, spiral dynamics, chakras, perennial philosophy, non-duality.
A NEW UNIVERSE
THE CRISIS OF DARWINISM
A HARMONIOUS SOLUTION
VERIFICATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS IN THE MACROCOSM
REGARDING THE CHAKRAS
REGARDING PHYLOGENETIC-ONTOGENETIC PARALLELISM
VERIFICATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS IN THE MICROCOSM
SOME FINAL OBSERVATIONS
ADDENDUM 1: COINCIDENT RESEARCH
ADDENDUM 2: FURTHER COINCIDENT RESEARCH
ADDENDUM 3: INTEGRAL EVOLUTION
ADDENDUM 4: INNER EVOLUTION
ADDENDUM 5: FURTHER COINCIDENCES (DAVID J. LEPOIRE)
A new universe
In this new emerging outlook, our daring proposal that a harmonious pattern that governs the rhythm of evolution exists no longer sounds so shocking. Let us see.
The crisis of Darwinism
A harmonious solution
The sixth cycle (A-6) starts with hominoids, has its first node (12 million years ago) when the common ancestor of all the great apes —Hominidae— developed, and its second node (6 million years ago) when our ancestors separated from the chimpanzees, our last relatives of the Family of hominids, the new basic level of our phylogeny.
We wish to make a brief parenthesis here to recognize that the accelerated pattern we observe in the generation of successive lithic modes was highlighted some time ago by French geologist André de Cayeux. In an article entitled Quelle courbe suit l’Humanite?, he drew a graph that clearly revealed the “rapid acceleration” of the evolutionary process of human beings. The stages he proposed were precisely “initial lithic culture”, “Acheulean”, “Mousterian”, “Aurignacian”, “Mesolithic”, “Age of Metals”, “Age of Machinism” and “Atomic Age”, in almost complete harmony with the cycles of our hypothesis.
Returning now to the testing of our hypothesis, we began the second series with the first cycle (B-1) which starts, as stated, with the presence of Homo habilis. According to the traditional approach, we could say that as we approach the first node (1.3 million years ago), we would encounter the emergence of Homo erectus, who would be the sole leading figure in this cycle with its expansion and development toward the second node (0.6 million years ago). A more recent approach seems to point in another direction as regards our line of ancestors. Homo ergaster —one of the first specimens of African Homo erectus—, would actually be the one that was to evolve toward Homo antecessor in the ascent towards the second node in this cycle.
Before continuing, we would like to state that the hypothesis being presented here regarding a spiral evolution the rate of which accelerates on the way towards a final pole of attraction was initially inspired by the pioneering proposals of Teilhard de Chardin —on “the convergence towards Omega”— and Aurobindo Ghose —on “the ascent towards Supermind”—, which in their time were considered completely preposterous by the world of official science. In recent decades, however, increasingly more research has been carried out in diverse fields and from different approaches, highlighting evolutionary acceleration and its orientation towards a singularity, findings with which our hypothesis obviously has many points of coincidence.
Regarding phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelism
According to Ken Wilber, the fetus has fundamental ground unconscious, “In essence, it is all the deep structures existing as potentials ready to emerge, via remembrance, a some future point.” All deep structures are included or related to ground unconscious: the “archaic unconsciousness” is the past of humanity and the “emerging unconsciousness” is the future. Given that the higher structures embrace the lower ones, the higher ones have to be the last ones in developing. The transpersonal cannot be realized while the personal has not yet been formed. Development —or evolution— consist in a series of hierarchical deployments of deep structures parting from ground unconsciousness, starting from the lowest —matter— and ending with the highest —consciousness. When —and if— the totality of ground unconscious has emerged, then there will only be consciousness; all is consciousness as the Whole. As Aristotle put it, when the potential has been actualized, the only result is God.
Comparing figures 7-A and 7-B, note how the overall macrocosmic and microcosmic patterns of development have identical structures. The only difference between them lies in the level at which pole P is positioned; that is, the pole toward which the “exit” section is oriented in each one of these patterns. In the macrocosm, it is situated at the “series leap” between “matter” and “life” —the appearance of organic macromolecules after the formation of the Earth—; while in the microcosm, it is situated at the “series leap” between the “mind” and the “soul” —the formation of the mature ego.
The human embryo, as it nears the end of the first month, develops some muscular segments, called miosomas, at each side of the neural tube, which represent the origin of the skeletal muscle system, typical of all vertebrates. From the fourth week on, limbs—upper and lower— also start to be formed. At first, they are only small protuberances or mamelons. However, they soon start to grow and, during the sixth week, already constitute small, paddle-shaped expansions that will evolve into hands and feet. Fingers finally develop during the seventh and eight week. During that time, the amnios, which during the first weeks of gestation was a very small vesicle, starts to increase in volume and progressively cover the embryo completely.
Cycle A-3 of our hypothesis started, in the macrocosm, with the first marine vertebrates —fish— and embraced the progressive conquest of dry land, first with the appearance of limbs in the tetrapods —amphibians— and then with the invention of that smooth, transparent membrane —the amnios— which protects reptile and mammal embryos. In our scheme for the microcosm, this cycle spans from the fourth week to the eighth, once again totally matching embryological data.
We shall digress briefly so as to make a few comments on the evolution and development of the nervous system.
A few decades ago, the American physician Paul MacLean proposed a thought-provoking model, known as the “triunic brain” or “triune brain”. This model aimed to explain the function of existing traces of evolution in the structure of the human brain. MacLean argued that our skull actually contains three brains: the reptilian, the limbic system and the neocortex, each of which represents a different evolutionary state. They are formed one after another in an overlapping manner, from the inside out, ontogenetically during embryonic and foetal development and phylogenetically during the course of evolution from the first fish to modern man. These three brains are connected to one another, like “three interconnected biological computers”, though each retains its own distinct characteristics.
The R-complex (or reptilian brain), which comprises the brainstem and cerebellum, began to form evolutionarily about 500 million years ago and developed throughout our cycle A-3, after the formation of the nerve cord in the previous cycle. It is basically responsible for the primary vital functions, i.e. basic survival instincts. It is an action-oriented brain, responsible for automatic impulsive behaviour, i.e. fight-or-flight, reacting to direct stimuli, without involving any emotional process.
The limbic system (or paleomammalian brain), which includes the hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala, originated over 150 million years ago and evolved throughout our cycle A-4. As a whole, it is the seat of emotions and affective memory. This ability to bring the past into the present encourages learning and facilitates relationships, as evidenced by the evolution of mammals.
The neocortex (or neomammalian brain), formed by the neuronal layer covering the outer area of the brain, began to develop some 60 million years ago and gradually increased in size during in our cycle A-5 and the following. There is a direct relationship between this development of the cerebral cortex and social development: the more complex and organized societies are, the greater the size of the neocortex of its members. The neocortical system is responsible for the higher intellectual processes and is the source of the increasing cognitive abilities of higher primates.
This same evolutionary sequence: brainstem, R-complex, limbic system and neocortex, develops approximately from the inside out, during the embryonic and foetal development of every human being. As already stated, the neural tube begins to form in the 3rd week of gestation and, after it has closed completely, the cephalic end begins to expand substantially past the 4th week, giving rise to the three primary vesicles, from which the entire brain originates. Or, for example, the medulla oblongata (R-complex component), which emerges at the end of the 8th week from the myelencephalon –one of the five secondary vesicles–, achieves its definitive form around the 20th week of gestation. Or the hippocampus (limbic system component), which has a similar appearance in all mammals, begins to unfold from the 13th week onwards, acquiring the adult form a month and a half later. The cerebral cortex (neocortex) develops later, mainly from the 5th month of pregnancy onward, when the surface of the hemispheres, which until then is almost completely smooth, begins to generate grooves and convolutions during the 6th and 7th months. These features dramatically enhance the surface area of the brain and facilitate the number of connections between neurons.
This parallelism between the phylogenetic and ontogenetic sequences of the development of the nervous system continues even after birth. For instance, there are some neurons known as fusiform neurons –responsible for connecting different regions of the brain– that are only found in humans and some great apes. It seems that the number of these neurons increased rapidly and dramatically with the emergence of Homo sapiens. Their most thought-provoking aspect, however, is that these cells currently do not exist in new-born babies, but begin to appear within a few months after birth. They then increase significantly in number between one and three years of age, coinciding precisely with our forecasts for the correlative stage for the emergence of H. sapiens in our individual development, as we shall see below.
We close this digression on the evolution of the nervous system here and now continue with the testing of our proposal. We had left off at the movement of birth, after our cycle A-6. From this point on, we shall take as our reference framework the hierarchy of psychological levels so thoroughly presented by Ken Wilber throughout his body of work. Let us see the first of these levels, which, according to our pattern of rhythms should correspond to the transition from cycle A-7 to cycle B-1, as the former involves gestation and is the latter, deployment.
Uroboric-axial body. Shortly after birth, the child’s perception begins to float in what is known as the pre-personal “uroboric” kingdom. The uroboros is still collective, archaic and primordially oceanic, but it already possesses some type of self-limitation. When the sensation of the infant self begins its evolution from the pre-personal uroboros to the individual organism, we see the emergence and creation of the organic and bodily self. By the term “axial body”, we are mainly referring to the fact of feeling the physical body as something that differs from the environment. The baby has a physical body at birth, but it does not recognize the axial body until the fourth or sixth month of age. As the self-awareness of the child self begins to be centered and distinguish its individual organism, it also assimilates an ambiguous, yet still undefined threat of extinction. Therefore, simple, brief survival becomes a priority in this stage. Aurobindo calls this level, the “physical” level.
Addendum 1: Coincident research
Addendum 4: Inner evolution
In Addenda 1 and 2, we have seen the great similarities between our hypothesis regarding the rhythm of evolution and the research of other authors who have also independently studied the surprising phenomenon of evolutionary acceleration from different perspectives. Almost all of these researchers have taken their data from the “objective” or “external” world.
In Addendum 3, we insisted that, in the phenomenal world, “objects” cannot exist without “subjects” or “outside” without “inside”, as both aspects are mutually dependent. Inexorably so.
Therefore, in this Addendum 4 we shall refer specifically to a number of authors who have methodically studied “inner” dynamics, mainly in the field of developmental psychology. This scientific discipline chiefly studies the regularities that occur in the process of psychological development of human beings throughout their life cycle. The specific areas of study can be highly diverse –cognitive, moral, emotional, etc.–, yet in all cases, a detailed description is given of a number of very specific stages which humans sequentially pass through from birth to death given the appropriate circumstances. The existence of these successive stages is not at all mere speculation, but is based on data provided by a major body of research.
We would like to point out here that, as the field of research of developmental psychologists chiefly focuses on the process of human life from birth onward, the spectrum of reality these studies cover is hence restricted to only the last stages of evolution. In principle, it could be thought that this limitation might hinder our attempt to test the hypothesis that we are developing. However, the truth is that the abundance and accuracy of the data we have found has enabled us to carry out the test very easily with very positive results.
To describe the different “lines” or “currents” of development which are the subject of research in this field of psychology, Ken Wilber uses the analogy of a mountain which can be climbed via a number of routes. (We postulate that it is a stratified mountain, like Plank’s “quanta”, Gould and Eldrege’s “punctuated equilibrium” or Mandelbrot’s “fractals”). The landscapes spotted from each of these routes may be very diverse, but in all cases, the paths taken must inexorably pass through successive levels (in our words, strata) to access the summit. That is to say, all the lines or currents of development, each with its specific characteristics, advance along the same altitude gradient, defined by the degree of consciousness, in such a way that the higher the degree of consciousness, the higher the development of a particular line will be.
Wilber posits a graph –a “psychograph”– with the colours of the expanded visible electromagnetic spectrum –from infrared to ultraviolet and beyond– to define the different levels of development. He uses the same psychograph for all lines or currents, since, as already stated all progress through the same altitude gradient. Note, however, that altitude is simply a measure or a marker of something, yet, in itself, lacks any particular content. Similarly, consciousness, in itself, is not a concrete phenomenon, but the vacuum within which all phenomena emerge. Nor is it a specific line of development among many others, but rather the opening in which all the lines of development unfold. Thus, the degree of consciousness allows us to determine the height at which each of these lines passes at any given time.
As already stated, after analyzing the work of countless researchers of psychological development, Wilber has designed an integral chromatic altimeter that precisely defines the successive general levels through which the different lines pass. For instance, we may speak of orange cognition, an orange sense of identity, an orange vision of the world, etc. Thus, the “chromatic altimeter” shows the general similarities between the different lines or currents of development.
Dear reader, if you have followed what we have been explaining in this article so far, you may have noticed that our basic hypothesis is ultimately no other than a “sound altimeter” of overall evolution and individual development. As you will recall, we stated that, starting from the vibrating unity of original energy-consciousness –the dual appearance of ever-present Self-evidence–, the successive second harmonics generated the entire spectrum of “potential levels of stratified stability” which, as we have shown, channel the entire process of evolution and development. Amazingly, our “sound altimeter” exactly coincides with Ken Wilber’s “chromatic altimeter” in its totality, level by level!!! Wilber’s infrared corresponds to our B-4, magenta to B-5, red to B-6, amber to B-7, orange to C-1, green to C-2, teal to C-3, turquoise to C-4, indigo to C-5, violet to C-6, ultraviolet to C-7 and clear light to beyond series C, i.e. beyond the transpersonal witness. All twelve levels!!! Full house!!!
In Figure 12, we have attempted to show the full correspondence between the stages in human life observed by developmental psychologists and the evolutionary levels proposed in our hypothesis. We have placed our “sound altimeter” on the left side of the chart, Wilber’s “chromatic altimeter” on the right, and the names and areas of study of 15 of the most renowned researchers in human psychological development along the top: Jean Piaget, Michael L. Commons and Francis A. Richards (cognitive), Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber (worldviews), Abraham Maslow (needs), Clare W. Graves and Jenny Wade (values), Don E. Beck and Chris Cowan (spiral dynamics), Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter (self-identity), Lawrence Kohlberg (morals), James Fowler (stages of faith) and Robert Kegan (orders of consciousness). The solidity of the resulting plot is almost complete. Fundamentally, in the section most investigated by these psychologists (between our steps B-4 and C-3), the coincidence between the stages posited by each of these authors and the levels indicated in the two reference altimeters (sound and chromatic) is overwhelming. It thus seems that our hypothesis passes (how could it not!) the test of “inner development” with honours. We insist: Can anyone honestly think that this is pure coincidence?
Let us then first outline a basic understanding of this transdisciplinary (bio-psycho-social-cultural) model of Spiral Dynamics, which has major similarities with our proposal. Subsequently, as already stated, we shall graphically express these correlations in Figure 13. Finally, we shall draw a very suggestive conclusion from all this.
Spiral Dynamics is rooted in the long-standing and thorough research of professor of psychology Clare W. Graves into the evolution of individuals and societies. Analyzing the different ways of thinking and ways of being of human beings, he identified a number of common patterns or basic value systems and integrated them into a multi-layered model of progressively complex levels. Graves held that the nature of human beings is an open system in constant evolution which advances by quantum leaps from a stationary state to another through a hierarchy of ordered, relatively stable systems, which unfurl spirally over the entire historical process of humankind from its beginnings to the present. He posited that these emergent stages are not rigid steps, but rather flowing, overlapping and interrelated waves, leading to the expansive spiral dynamics of individual and collective development, driven by their own internal dynamics and changing conditions of life. As it possesses a broader perspective and a more complex capacity for organization, each emergent wave “transcends and includes” –as Wilber puts it– all previous waves, acquires the maximum importance for a period of time and ultimately ends up being “transcended by and included in” a new, broader-ranging and more complex wave.
After Graves’ death, his co-workers Don E. Beck and Chris Cowan continued to develop and corroborate their mentor’s theoretical model and used it as the basis for their book Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change. These authors call the successive paradigms that define each of the eight basic levels of the spectrum “value memes” or “vMemes”. As can be seen in Fig. 12, the eight levels of Spiral Dynamics exactly coincide, one by one, with all the cycles of our hypothesis between B-4 and C-4. It occurred to Beck and Cowan to identify each of these levels with a certain colour, thus facilitating the understanding and dissemination of their intelligent and effective model. The basic characteristics of these levels or colours are as follows:
Beige: Survival Instinct. Satisfaction of physiological needs. Impulsiveness. Biological automatism. Immediate action. [Nomadic hordes. “Savagery”.]
Purple: Kin Spirits. Loyalty to the chief, the clan, tradition. Ethnocentric culture. Safety. Magic-animistic thinking. Superstitions. Taboos. Rituals to appease ancestral spirits. [Tribal settlements. “Barbarism”.]
Red: Power Gods. Egocentric. The grandiose, impulsive, omnipotent Self. Triumph of the strong. Myths of heroes. Fighting. Conquest. Domination. Exploitation. Tyranny. [Ancient empires. “Enslavement”.]
Blue: Truth Force. Absolutist thinking. Certainty. Existence ordered via a divine code. Regulations. Rules. Traditions. Obedience. Discipline. Guilt. Self-sacrifice. Deferred reward. Order. Stability. Conformism. Socio-centric culture. [Medieval kingdoms. “Feudalism”.]
Orange: Strive Drive. Effort. Pragmatism. Empiricism. Positivism. Scientism. Strategy. Competition. Dynamism. Growth. Success. Results. Achievements. Free market. Material goods. Consumerism. Individualism. Autonomy. Control. [National states. “Capitalism”.]
Green: Human Bond. Community Collaboration. Solidarity. Associative movements. Building of consensus. Relativism. Pluralism. Multiculturalism. The sensitive Self. Emotional communication. Feelings. Equality. Sense of injustice. Human rights. Feminism. Environmental awareness. Sustainability. Ecology.
Yellow: Flex Flow. Process integration. Systemic thinking. Complexity. Interdependence. Collaborative networks. Multiple realities. Open systems. Acceptance of uncertainty. Questioning mentality. Curiosity. Inquiry. Flexibility. Utility. Functionality. Spontaneity.
Turquoise: Global View. Global synthesis. Chaordic (chaotic-ordered) world. Fractal reality. Life as an unfolding of holoarchies. Spiral dynamics. Multiple levels interwoven into one conscious system. Communion with the whole. Understanding of universal harmony. Collective consciousness. Holographic connections. Transpersonal mentality. Cosmic spirituality.
Ray Kurzweil, one of the most prestigious researchers of technological acceleration, locates the moment of Singularity in 2045. He states that the non-biological intelligence created in that year will be a thousand million times more powerful than all human intelligence today. However, that does not seem to really be the true evolutionary summit, because, subsequently, in his book The Singularity Is Near, he states that our civilization will expand outward, turning all the dumb matter and energy that we comprise into highly intelligent (and transcendent) matter and energy. So, in a sense, we can say that the Singularity will eventually imbibe the universe with its spirit. Kurzweil specifies that we will manage to saturate the universe with our intelligence before the end of 22nd century and states “Once we saturate the matter and energy of the universe with intelligence, it will ‘wake up’, be conscious, and sublimely intelligent. That’s about as close to God as I can imagine.” Accordingly, it thus seems that the real evolutionary summit will not take place in 2045, but will occur in the late 22nd century, when all the energy and intelligence of the universe will be experienced in a unified way.
Seen in this way, the coincidence with my proposal seems quite clear, in terms of both date and content. As we have posited in this article, at the beginning of the 23rd century –around the year 2217– energy and consciousness will reveal their ultimate non-duality. According to Ray Kurzweil, at the end of 22nd century, all the energy of the universe will be saturated with intelligence and the Singularity will eventually imbibe this universe with its spirit. Doesn’t that all sound very similar?
[ cejournal.org/GRD/zdenek.pdf ]