Conscious Awareness, Evolution and The Whole Damned Thing

This continues the revised 3rd edition of A Million Different Things: Meditations of The World’s Happiest Man with meditation #8 in the opening section, Morning.

You can find links for every chapter at Gift of A Million Different Things.

Can Evolution Explain The Whole Damned Thing?

Quite a few people have become passionate and inquisitive about evolution, conscious awareness and ultimate reality.

The immediacy of internet connections spreads the conversation fast. A small, growing minority talks about notions of what it’s really all about, “it” being this thing called life. Is “it” really about anything, and if it is, what?

Where did we come from and why are we here? No one, philosopher, religious figure are spiritual guide has given us answers satisfying enough to quiet the debate.

Are we evolution’s accidents, stumbling onto DNA as a tool for eternal self-replication. Are guesses about Gods and purposes in life socially useful ideas buffering us against despair?

Without knowing where we came from and why, how can we know how to live? What should the rules be and what do we owe each other? There are numerous poeple who will tell you they’ve worked it out, but they disagree with each from almost any angle you can pick out.

Evolution and The Big Ideas

Scientists have come up with widely accepted theories about how life began and, over millennia, grew complex and persistent. No God or Intelligent Designer required. What you see, they tell us, are what comes from the twists and turns of evolutionary transitions.

When we finally meet creatures from other galaxies, we may not seem so impressive, even to ourselves, anymore. Other species here on Earth can give us a run for our money, even now, but that’s another chapter altogether.

The diversity on our planet could be more or less like it is, but singling out humans as miracles of grand design ignores blunders in physical construction, like knees, our inability to care about or adequately prepare for any but the most immediate future, our propensity for devouring environments until nothing of value is left, and so on. Having produced a Shakespeare and an Einstein hardly confers any special honor on a species that also gave us Hitler and Barbara Cartland.

Millions of years of evolution have produced wondrous achievements, but also a vast and swelling reservoir of ho hum, not to mention the yikes factor common in certain calamitous humans.

The current rendition of millennia of trial and error spends hours every day distracted in front of television ads supported by six to eight minute bursts of not very original ‘entertainment.’ His or her lifespan has been extended by the invention of medicine, improved nutrition and better physical security. But our amazing brains are buzzing with infectious memes guiding us in the evasion original thought.

Evolution, Conscious Awareness and A Landing Zone Somewhere in Ultimate Reality

We’ve arrived at a tipping point. Evolution has deposited us on the border a long plateau of uselessness–of nothing left to do.

Is it possible we’ve reached the logical end of human evolution? If not, what challenges or threats have we yet to master? What advantages can future genetic scrambling give us that might matter? Has conscious awareness evolved as far as it can go into ultimate reality?

Good answers aren’t possible until we better understand who, what and why we are. The saturating ennui we feel as we absorb plateau across which we’ve begun to slog has brought more of us back to questions we once were happy to release to religions.

Our ancient belief systems are relics that can’t carry us from here to there, despite the rituals and controlling devices. Religions, for the most part, are about keeping one foot always on the brakes and waiting. Their activism is a lubricant, not a gas. Answers can only come from individuals willing to look at reality without the comfort of colored, distorted or otherwise comforting lenses.

Conscious Awareness Takes Evolution By The Throat and Demands Better

Heat-seeking devices that we are, we’ve learned many things, and some of what we’ve learned is crazy by conventional standards, which means that most of us will bypass the information.

We know that we live in a space marked off by three useful dimensions interlocked by time and that this includes only a smallish portion of the total of what is. Other dimensions hover around us, but we can’t know them.

The preponderance of stuff in the universe is invisible, making ultimate reality seem resolutely unknowable. Dark energy and dark matter, as they are called, take up most of the universe and its activities. Invisibles dominate, but we have only educated guesses about what they are and why.

In the physical event known as quantum entanglement, we’ve seen that material, once connected, is inseperable at any distance. Distance becomes a silly sort of idea the closer we get to understanding ultimate reality. This is true no matter the span of years during which the material has been entangled and seeming to zoom at light speed in different directions.

If loose sight of the fact that we are all material particles attached across the breadth of the universe, our conscious awareness gets lost in unreality. Quantum entanglement seems to be a marriage undertaken with no possibility of divorce.

We know, significantly, that the universe is so impossibly vast that the clumps of entropy-defying matter known as you and me are so tiny proportionately as to render anything we do infinitely inconsequential, except to ourselves and our determined egos.

Still, we also know that the richness we experience makes us feel as if everything out there is ours to enjoy and even control. We know instinctively that we’re born enthusiastic and inquisitive and that we connect with each other and the rest of nature.

We know that we want to know more.

The universe may be contained whole within our willingness to recognize it. Our minds are territory consumers capable of enormous depth and breadth of acquisition. We know that the whole kit and caboodle matters to us ultimately, even if we don’t know why.

We know that the human experience is packed with components and tools designed to enrich our adventuring. We know that we share in everything, and in time, we will also come to know that we share space with every other thing.

But Why Did Evolution Design Our Place in Ultimate Reality To Be Like This?

More people are beginning to ask questions. Their proposed answers range from the fluffiest declarations about oneness and everything being “love” to hard core speculations about the laws underlying nature that emerge to present our senses with a universe complex and, so far, ineffable enough to keep our explorers busy infinitely.

Let’s keep talking.

Last Chapter: 50 Trillion Cells

This continues the revised 3rd edition of A Million Different Things: Meditations of The World’s Happiest Man with meditation #8 in the opening section, Morning.

You can find links for every chapter at Gift of A Million Different Things.