Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baba on Evolution

According to Meher Baba, evolution is not a directionless selection of accidental traits culled by natural forces for their adaptation to environment. Rather it is a series of media that are produced from the template of past impressions of the soul in search of its true identity as God.

Speaking of Baba's teaching of evolution in the introduction to God Speaks, the editors Ivy O. Duce and Don E. Stevens explain,
The physical form that acts as the medium for experiencing the opposites of Creation is shown to be an increasingly complex by-product of this will of God to know Himself consciously. The very force of evolution of form becomes, not a random selection of the fittest, but a result of the necessity of the residues of experience to express themselves through increasingly more complex instruments. (God Speaks, Introduction by editors Ivy O. Duce and Don E. Stevens, p. xxxi)

For the relation between impressions and forms see Mould of the Impressions, the second most viewed post in this Blog's history.

Update 10/28/2012

I include a new book review from Oxford University Press submitted by an anonymous commenter. It is definitely worthy of a quick read:

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False


  1. Completely agree that Baba is very clear about a direction to evolution (& that consciousness is the motor-force behind biological forms).

    Just a clarification, though: the Intro. text you quote from was not written by Baba. Baba himself actually does use the very phrase "survival of the fittest" in the main text of the book (p. 32: "...showing first signs of peculiar, varied and meaningful tendencies of self-preservation and survival of the fittest"), and also uses the adjective "inadvertently" (if not "randomly"), on p. 17, when summarizing the consciousness-form dynamic going on in evolution ("...this evolution of consciousness inadvertently evolves a series of forms of higher and higher species while exhausting the impressions of the lower and lower species that get dissociated or dropped or shed").

  2. Thank you Anonymous.

    The quote you refer to is as follows.

    "Thus it is that, when the soul tends to identify itself with varied species of vegetable-forms, the evolved finite subtle form and the evolved finite mental form of the soul begin to show greater and visible signs of the soul’s association with its much evolved finite subtle form and finite mental form in the shape of varied, rapid cycles of changes taking place in vegetable-forms; and also, in the shape of vegetable-forms showing first signs of peculiar, varied and meaningful tendencies of self-preservation and survival of the fittest. (Meher Baba, God Speaks, online version p. 32)"

    However, Meher Baba does not state that this is the causal drive of rising forms. The survival of the fittest does exist in nature, and serves to keep a species fit, not to force its advancement to another form. Thus survival of the fittest actually is a force to prevent change or digress and thus maintain stasis for that form, so that other souls can take birth in that species form kept constant.

    My own views are stated here:

  3. Thanks for the reply. I guess a mainstream biologist working today would likely claim there's no significant difference in the mechanics of mico- vs. macro-evolution, or within vs. between forms, etc.? Have you run into Thomas Nagel's new book, http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Philosophy/Science/?ci=9780199919758&view=usa ? Is interesting because he also seems to want to see a "third way" emerge, but is not religious at all (and is not part of the "ID" camp).

  4. I think the more progress that is made in knowing the full facts of the mechanics of evolution on a molecular level, the easier a future integration with spiritual understanding will be. I was a good student of physical anthropology and biology when I was young, but there were still facts to come in. I have never believed the control mechanism, force behind evolution, was adequately explained simply by environmental pressure. I felt this was silly for many reasons. Oswald Spengler wrote in 1918 that he felt that Darwin had read Malthusian economics into evolution, rather than truly finding it there. This would have been appropriate to the climate of Darwin's time. In other words Darwin anthropomorphizes the cause by applying social dynamics to biology. I agree with Spengler on that point. Of course I don't think physical science can ever determine by any test that consciousness is the driving force, as Baba says it is. No test for such a thing could ever exist even in principle. But I think that the more facts emerge the more consistent they will come to be seen with such a 'view' of the cause.

    Baba's Divine Theme can never be proven. But I think that honest unbiased science can only be a help in presenting us with the possibility if it is true. If Baba is right, the facts ought to work in his favor, not against it. And I think this may become more evident as time goes on.

    I liked and trusted the article I submitted with this post partly because of its author's tone, most notably near its conclusion, where he questions any science that holds too rigorously onto any prized past mode, such dogmatism being antithetical to science in its truest spirit -- though such search will always necessarily be from the "other end" from which Baba is coming at it. I agree with the article's author about Dawkins and Dennett and have heard Dennett speak. Who knows where science may lead when it is led by honest dealers, of which science has very many?