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A Brief History of Evolutionary Spirituality

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posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 05:44 PM
A Brief History of Evolutionary Spirituality

OK, first let me say that I am agnostic, thus I have no particular position when it comes to the ongoing debate between atheists and creationists as to issues of origins and deity.

As I have declared in many threads I find this debate to have become repetitive and boring as I see the two sides essentially throwing the same talking points at each other over and over.

So I thought I would inject a rare or seldom considered perspective onto the debate.

Charles Darwin did not invent the concept of evolution. In fact, he himself acknowledged that the idea, however loosely defined, had a history dating back to Aristotle. And despite the general impression offered by most scientists today, it wasn’t always a materialistic notion either. In its modern incarnation, the concept of evolution can be traced directly to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who viewed the evolutionary process as an act of God.

continued ...

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the notion that the evolutionary process is ultimately driven by a spiritual impulse is continuing to gain traction, with a growing number of progressive philosophers, scientists, and mystics exploring its implications. To many, it is simply a compelling philosophy, uniting the revelations of science and spirituality in a way that no other theory can. But others, like Aurobindo before them, are beginning to reach beyond a theoretical discussion to wonder: What might human life and culture look like if we fully took to heart the reality of this view? Freed from the mythic dogmatisms of premodern religion, transcending the materialistic biases of modern scientific thought, and liberated from the narcissistic self-absorptions of postmodernity, what kind of new world could human beings aligned with the trajectory of a spiritually evolving cosmos actually create?

I encourage everyone to read the full article attached to this post before responding. The snippet does not convey the full breadth of the article's historical and philosophical perspective.

[edit on 10/7/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 06:16 PM
I very much intrigued by the idea of humanity being in a transitional phase, struggling to reconcile it's ever increasing technological and scientific knowledge with it's lagging spiritual understanding.

Gerald Heard, an English historian, expressed it this way:

"Heard termed this phase 'Leptoid Man' (from the Greek word lepsis: "to leap") because humans increasingly face the opportunity to 'take a leap' into a considerably expanded consciousness, in which the various aspects of the psyche will be integrated, without any aspects being repressed or seeming foreign. A society that recognizes this stage of development will honor and support individuals in a "second maturity" who wish to resolve their inner conflicts and dissolve their inner blockages and become the sages of the modern world. Further, instead of simply enjoying biological and psychological health, as Freud and other important psychiatric or psychological philosophers of the “total-individual” phase conceived, Leptoid man will not only have entered the “second maturity” of the complete individual but will become: a human of developed spirituality, similar to the mystics of the past; and a person of wisdom.[1]

But we are still in the transitional phase, not really beyond the super-individualistic fourth, "humanic" phase. Heard's views were cautionary about developments in society that were not balanced, about inappropriate aims of our use of technological power. He wrote: "we are aware of our precarious imbalance: of our persistent and ever-increasing production of power and our inadequacy of purpose; of our critical analytic ability and our creative paucity; of our triumphantly efficient technical education and our ineffective, irrelevant education for values, for meaning, for the training of the will, the lifting of the heart, and the illumination of the mind.


posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 06:38 PM
Though we may be in this transitional state, here's one philosophy as to our ultimate potentiality regarding the unification of the material and spiritual.

The Omega point:

Omega point is a term invented by French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the maximum level of complexity and consciousness to which the universe seems to be evolving. Teilhard postulates that Omega Point bears the resemblance of the Christian Logos; Christ, who draws all things into himself. In this theory, the universe is constantly developing towards higher levels of material complexity and consciousness, a theory of evolution that Teilhard calls the Law of Complexity/Consciousness. For Teilhard, the universe can only move in the direction of more complexity and consciousness if it is being drawn by a supreme point of complexity and consciousness. Thus Teilhard postulates the "Omega Point" as the supreme point of complexity and consciousness, which is not only as the term of the evolutionary process, but the actual cause for the universe to move in the direction of complexity and consciousness. In other words, Omega Point exists as supremely complex and conscious, independent of the evolving universe. I.e. Omega Point is transcendent. In interpreting the universe this way, Teilhard kept Omega Point within the orthodox views of the Christian God, who is transcendent (independent) of his creation.


posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 07:56 PM
As I said earlier, as any good agnostic, I do not see as science and religion at odds with each other.

Albert Einstein described it best:

Accordingly, a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation. They exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself. In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts. According to this interpretation the well-known conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a misapprehension of the situation which has been described.


posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 09:06 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Hi schrodingers,
Excellent thread.

I would welcome your opinion on a small verse in The Book of Genesis in the bible.

I know there are many other genesis books besides the one in the bible but most sort of tell the same story.

The verse I am referring to is Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 28...

Quot from one version....

And God blessed them: and God said unto them,
be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth..........etc etc...

The word according to the Oxford dictionary means..


replen'ish, v.t. Fill up again.

Hmmmm Looks Like this is Not the First Time the Program of Earth and This particular Universe has been plaid!?

So I think we all may have to look a little closer in understanding this Roman collection of Greek and Hebrew scripts which is known as The Bible.

What are Your thought on...

And God blessed them: and God said unto them,
be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth.

and The Word; replenish or to Fill up again

I look forward to your valued comments.

[edit on 7-10-2008 by The Matrix Traveller]

[edit on 7-10-2008 by The Matrix Traveller]

posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 11:15 PM
Ok. Very interesting topic.

I am not entirely sure what sort of direction you want to take this, however. It touches upon three of my favorite subjects evolution, science in general, and spirituality, but I am not sure where you want to begin. Obviously this is going to be an opinion paper,
and not a fact filled one as we consider facts.

Is it, "what would human society look like if we recognized that we were involved in a spiritual evolution as a collective?"

What might human life and culture look like if we fully took to heart the reality of this view? Freed from the mythic dogmatisms of premodern religion, transcending the materialistic biases of modern scientific thought, and liberated from the narcissistic self-absorptions of postmodernity, what kind of new world could human beings aligned with the trajectory of a spiritually evolving cosmos actually create?

If so, I would say, the Republic of Plato is as good an answer as any. Plato is, in my not universally accepted opinion, trying to show us how that would look, at least as humans are concerned, in its earliest stages. It is a demonstration of how a One/many would operate in human form, imho. His philosopher Kings are not just incredible minds, he expects them to go beyond the "mind" and access what Sri Aurobindo is calling the "Supermind."

Is the question "What do we think of the proposition that we are evolving spiritually as well as physically?"

If so I would say apparently we are. In truth, I do not think our perception of time in reflective of the truth of "what is" and that we never left the Omega point, so to speak. However to us, here, it looks like we are traveling through time and space. Like we are evolving or the universe expanding. And since those are the assumptions we are operating under it will continue to appear that way until we reach the realization that nothing has ever changed. Sort of like Julian Barbour describes in his view of a universe without time,

"Change merely creates an illusion of time, with each individual moment existing in its own right, complete and whole. He calls these moments "Nows". It is all an illusion: there is no motion and no change. He argues that the illusion of time is what we interpret through what he calls "time capsules," which are "any fixed pattern that creates or encodes the appearance of motion, change or history."

So that in fact no evolution is occurring, nor really could it. We cannot evolve into God, we have never been anything but. Nothing is anything but. A rock is not an unevolved human, or unevolved bit of God, it is an aspect of God as it should be Now.

The problem, if you want to call it that, as I see it, is that we are trying to describe the non-dual with words and a mind that can be nothing but dualistic.

I suppose it is a fine thing to think we are evolving towards greater spirituality, or expanded consciousness, or whatever. But in truth we have never been anywhere but at the origin. Rather than travel around the circumference of a sphere, for example, all we need to do is condense into it as a point. There is no journey to take. You dont really become enlightened or more "conscious" by taking a spiritual journey or evolving. You do it when the realization strikes you firmly that there is no where to possibly go.

I would say in that regard, we do not need spirituality or mystic truth to catch up to science. Mystic truth is what it is. (And it is not religion) Science began there, at that point, and it is traveling the circumference of the sphere, and it will end up right where the mystic has always stood. Unmoving. Unchanging. Eternal and infinite.

Plato says of this;

[Socrates] He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?
[Glaucon] Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him.
[Socrates] And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?
[Glaucon] Certainly, he would.
[Socrates] And if they were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,

"Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,"

and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?

Science is the art of describing shadows. It may be useful, fun, etc. And I love and enjoy it. But it is still the describing of shadows. Science is not where you go to find gnosis. Gnosis is where science goes to learn more about the shadows.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 01:08 AM
Wake me up when Sunday comes

...a cumulative increase of the beauty and universal perfection of the works of God, a perpetual and unrestricted progress of the universe as a whole must be recognized, such that it advances to a higher state of development.

- Gottfried Liebniz, quoted in the article linked above

So God's creation was originally imperfect and is now evolving towards perfection?

You mean we're caught up in the act of creation now?

You mean the Seven Days aren't over yet?

You mean it's true that

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun

Cripes. Wake me when it's Sunday, will you? I think I'll have a little snooze till then.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 08:40 AM
Data being enough exists in order to state that the anatomy of human body underwent sudden (not evolutionary) changes over the centuries.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 11:56 AM
First . . . Great topic! S&F!!
Now where do I begin . . .

I've seen this brought up in essay and talks, there are even people that have made "new age" careers out of shepparding this idea. The general idea being that spirituality is evolving and the old paradigm of spirituality being tied to a certain ethos is falling away, leading us to a collective conscious. While I agree that spirituality is in a transitional period (albeit no different than any time period), I can't agree that spirituality is evolving at the current time.

Just for backround, I happen to be an atheist who, for a long time, considered myself an agnostic. I've never questioned the idea that we all share a connection to our fellow man, this planet, or the universe. It's something most of us feel, even if we don't have the scientific knowledge to explain it. It's been evident in our social evolution; i.e. communal living, keeping of pets, cultivating plant life, searching the heavens.

So . . . My theory is this. While I believe we are in a transitional period, in terms of spirituality, I believe this to be slow and steady over time. There may be spikes here or there, but it's been gradual. In the same way Kubrick alludes to our I.Q. exploding since the first tool was used, I think the inverse is true of spirituality. The onset of science and technology has brought a decrease in "spirituality". I also think there is a a measure of this . . . which also, somewhat, ties in to Dog's other thread about saying "IDK".

So just how can we measure it . . .
Merriam Webster says spirituality is

the quality or state of being spiritual

The other entries all talk about religion, which I feel is a product of spirituality, so what is "spiritual"

of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit

Beyond that, the entries all speak on religion and the supernatural . . . seems you can't have a spirit without the supernatural. I don't dwell in the supernatural, so when I think of spirituality, it encorporates empathy, compassion, perceptiveness, attachment to others and the universe, and ethical and moral behavior. So how can we measure those aspects . . . emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while other claim it is an inborn characteristic

I attended a talk recently and the speaker presented a graph, which showed that since the turn of the century, on average E.I. has steadily declined and I.Q. has steadily risen. Which goes against what is generally found in the individual . . . where low E.I./high I.Q.'s are rare.

When you take into account that we are social animals and E.I. measures how we relate to others and perceive ourselves, the fact that society has consistantly worked to keep us detached has led us to this decline in E.I.; nothing more expedient than technology.

In the past, this feeling of connectedness, empathy, and morality was explained away by religion, just as the physical/natural processes that seemed beyond human comprehension. Yet, we now know that the sun is not an actual god and that earth wasn't wholly thought into existence. Science has de-mystified the physical world to a point that most don't believe that the supernatural is to blame for everyday occurances, so to, our technological society has diminished this connectedness.

In every era up until the industrial revolution, humans were force to interact with other humans and nature as a way of life and survival. This practice led to high E.I. and Socratic Inwardness. As we have evolved out of this period of high cooperativity with the world, we see our E.I. declining . .


[edit on 10/8/08 by solomons path]

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 12:15 PM
reply to post by solomons path

We see our E.I. declining . . . people are less in tune with their emotions, we are less social (despite a world wide economy), we are less compassionate towards are neighbors, we segregate ourselves. It may be coming around with the development of social networking, but that is still impersonal and the effects can seen in dealing with genY on emotional and personal levels.

This all tends to make more materialistic and the ego expand. One of the greatest tenents in all of religion is the Buddhist call to lose the ego. Seperateness feeds the ego and kills E.I. . . . it devolves "spriituality" by reducing our empathy, compassion, and sense of oneness. Other causes of seperateness . . . our capatalist system/global economy, religion, advances in science, nationalism, et. al. These factors certainly aren't to blame for this, in my opinion, they are more of a catalyst. However, when only 13% of the population have the ablity to think for themselves . . . it's hard not to fall for the lure of group think follow the path of these catalysts.

The only way to raise E.I. or spirituality is to actively fight seperateness is to become involved, more social, demonstrate compassion . . . practice Socratic Inwardness. Don't fall for the tired, oppressive line that we are somehow not the same or that we don't all belong to the same race . . . erase the ego and interact . . . help.

I think we can incorporate science and "spirituality", but I don't think there is anything supernatural about it . . . and it can't go hand in hand with the ego. At least, that's my theory.

some other links on E.I. zNXZ77TtdHe5z04&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPT103,M1

EDIT - spelling

[edit on 10/8/08 by solomons path]

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 12:43 PM
I do want to add that I'm not claiming the E.I. is "spirtuality", but the trend is hard to ignore. To me living for a higher purpose means living for more than your survival and promoting the connectedness we all share. This bings about the notions of empathy, compassion, etc. E.I. simply measures these emotions and how we perceive our relationships with others. I don't think spirituality is supernatural . . . it's a natural relationship with our universe. Much like fractals, consciousness is effected and can be changed by each individual to affect the whole.

How can we be connected if we don't respect and live amongst nature?
How can we be connected if we are too busy watching American Idol (or hanging around the net . . .
) to take time to reflect inward.

I don't think it's coincidence that has time has passed people have become "smarter", but less "wise". I fail to see any new great philosophers or leaders of men. We've lost our connectedness to the universe and our current path isn't going to bring it back . . . it's going to worsen that connection. Only a social revolution can bring us back, but even that will take many years.

That's my opinion, at least . . .

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 07:35 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog


I just fell in love with a new word

may have to have something going on with "sympoetize" on the side

we do a lot of that here

much reading... (here - and out there)

not my bestest skill - so I need to catch up some...

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

Science is the art of describing shadows. It may be useful, fun, etc. And I love and enjoy it. But it is still the describing of shadows. Science is not where you go to find gnosis. Gnosis is where science goes to learn more about the shadows.

uh oh

I agree

but still...uh oh


let the games commence...

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 11:32 PM
I know what you all are saying. I have trouble describing it with words. I failed english in high school because I didn't give a crap about sounding educated, so my ability to put into words what this all is... it's kind of limited.

I have trouble with worshiping or grasping any type of concept or philosophy firmly. I understand it and everything, but I can't grasp it fully, because what is is not a concept. It just kind of is. I can't say anything is evolving because I can't say forward or backward is a motion. It's all just patterns to be observed.

It would be weird if our consciousness decided to push the stop button on the telescopic fractal kaleidescope and step away for a few moments.

It's best we don't figure out a way to describe it. To know it is to know not to describe it anymore because then it ruins the meaning of what you are.

I get a weird feeling whenever talking about this. I'm gunna stop now.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 11:46 PM
I just got this sudden flash of an idea. Are you familiar with the vesica pisces(sp?)?

I pictured a vase with a complex pattern around it. You turn it round fast enough and the pattern looks like it is moving. Well if that pattern was constantly changing subtly, and you only concentrated on a certain small cross section, it would seem to be one evolving scenario.

Then I pictured two rotating spheres intersecting to form a 3-d vesica pisces. The spheres are large and have multiple layers of gradually changing patterns on them... and where the space within the pisces is... that is where consciousness lies. I even got a vision of a ray of light piercing the vesica pisces and creating the patterns in like the way a prism makes a rainbow.

It's very sketchy, but when you talk about emotional intelligence and spiritual evolution or evolution in general, you have to mention patterns.... and this flash of an image just appeared to me for a brief millisecond of the spherical vesica pisces being penetrated by a ray of light and creating the patterns which we view as consciousness and time and space and everything within it.

[edit on 8-10-2008 by dunwichwitch]


Okay, the idea is evolving... and it's just a very incomplete sketch, so don't judge it harshly. It's very hard to describe. I don't even know that much about sacred geometry.

[edit on 8-10-2008 by dunwichwitch]

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 03:51 AM
Straight, No Chaser

Originally posted by solomons path
Merriam Webster says spirituality is

the quality or state of being spiritual

so what is "spiritual"

of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit

Hm, yes, very enlightening. And just what do Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster say 'spirit' is?

Let's see...

Oo, looky here!

1: an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms

2: a supernatural being or essence; b: soul; c: an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible

3: temper or disposition of mind or outlook

4: the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person

5 a: the activating or essential principle influencing a person ; b: an inclination, impulse, or tendency of a specified kind : mood

6 a: a special attitude or frame of mind; b: the feeling, quality, or disposition characterizing something

7: a lively or brisk quality in a person or a person's actions

8: a person having a character or disposition of a specified nature

9: a mental disposition characterized by firmness or assertiveness

10 a: distillate; b: a usually volatile organic solvent

11 a: prevailing tone or tendency ; b: general intent or real meaning

12: an alcoholic solution of a volatile substance

13: enthusiastic loyalty


Will someone please tell me which of these definitions applies on this thread? Sadly, I don't suppose it's No. 12.

I trust the point I am making needs no further clarification, but should be pleased to supply same if requested.

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 06:12 AM
Define spiritual to me, please.

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 07:17 AM
Nope. We will not define spirituality for you. We can't do that. It's Your job to go figure it out yourself. You will not understand until you experience, my tiny little talking monkeys.

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 08:01 AM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog

OK, first let me say that I am agnostic, thus I have no particular position when it comes to the ongoing debate between atheists and creationists as to issues of origins and deity.

Atheism and evolution have nothing to do with each other.

As I have declared in many threads I find this debate to have become repetitive and boring as I see the two sides essentially throwing the same talking points at each other over and over.

There is no debate. Creationism has no evidence backing it, that simple. The pushing of creationism is largely political, a means to push a conservative right wing agenda. Not that there isn't a small minority of scientists that disagrees with evolution, there is just no evidence out there that disproves evolution in favor of creationism. That is why it is so boring, there is no true debate to be had.

Now i'm not trying to derail the thread or anything, but science and a persons own "spiritual" preference are completely seperate. Unfortunately people try to tie them together when they are completely seperate subjects.

Also human social evolution over time is largely seperate from biological evolution.

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 09:20 AM
reply to post by Anonymous ATS

Nope. Try again.

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