Monday, 15 October 2012

What Is Evolution and How Can We Relate To It?

Put simply, evolution is permanent growth in a positive direction, and while this may seem like a simple explanation, it is yet quite accurate, and actually rather complex in nature.  Let me first expand on this by discussing the quality of the permanent aspect of this growth.  The proliferation of dinosaurs across the face of planet earth, definitely demonstrated huge growth in the evolutionary cycle, yet where are they now?

The reality is, as best as we can tell, a meteor struck the earth, causing something like a global nuclear winter, that ultimately killed the majority of prehistoric species, and sent the earth hurtling into an ice age.  If the same thing were to happen today, we would just as likely struggle to survive, but our physical growth, that is our growth in science, gives us many advantages over the dinosaurs, and we actually might fare quite a lot better.  That is, our evolution thus far, might have begun to prepare us.

Now while the likelihood of something like that happening again in modern times is actually extremely small, nature does have its way of throwing us a challenge from time to time.  Not that it is out to get us in some way, on the contrary, God loves us all, but rather in my view, I think it is that nature likes to test us periodically, to see how far and well we have grown, particularly in respect of our sense of our place in the world.  In some ways, this may be seen as nature giving us causes to strip ourselves back to our very foundations, which is the core of who we are, and while that core gradually grows or evolves with us, our true core is quite impervious to anything that happens to or around us.

Clearly, the dinosaurs had not grown far enough to protect themselves from the catastrophe that befell them, and so while their existence upon this earth is well considered permanent, we are still finding the fossil evidence, their passage was yet transitory, and so, forms part of the ever expanding cycles of life.  They are a permanent facet in the evolution of planet earth, and may yet be what is perhaps a timely reminder, that we each ultimately have to face our own mortality, and that while we are absolutely permanent, we are yet transitory.

Evolutionary growth is always positive for a reason.  Think of how our understanding of science and technology have evolved, as a culture,  over the last few decades.  New ideas that are put forward in these fields are only lasting when they are true, and well founded in what we already know.  Often, it takes some time to determine the truth of a new idea, and to see how well supported it is by what is currently known.  Once this is achieved, the new idea comes to form part of our knowledge, and may well form the foundation for newer ideas, the potential knowledge of the future.

Clearly, anything that is true and well founded is inherently positive, though it is incredibly important here that the growth we are considering actually be well founded.  For without the support of what is already known, it is possible for new ideas to unseat any previous ideas that were not so well founded.  Modern science generally has its permanence because it is based upon truth built upon truth, each supported by the prior truth.  So while our overall view does change over time, there remains a sense of constant improvement or continuous growth in a positive direction, evolution.

We might be thinking here, that people sometimes do bad things with what they know, how can that be, if the idea was true and well founded.  The reality is, that while the idea might be inherently positive, it can still be used for ill.  The nature of what happens when a person acts on an idea, is largely determined by their intentions.  If their intentions are ill, what is done will likely be ill, but it is better to note that the original idea, still might have been positive.  Some of the most hurtful things another person can say to us are often true.

Relating to evolution, is about being mindful of each and every step that we take in the right direction, both individually in our own lives, and as part of the human culture, the steps that we feel our society is making in a positive direction.  It is up to each and every one of us to decide how much we intend to participate in this evolutionary process, and at the very least, to remain aware of this process of evolution that takes place through and around us.

And so it is with evolution, that things may grow into existence, in a positive direction, reside here for a while, providing support that may well found much of the things that come after, and at some later time, when its influence has been exhausted, it may pass ultimately from existence again, leaving much behind.  Isn't evolution wonderful.

 

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