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The Seat of the Soulby Gary Zukav
CHAPTER I: Evolution from the Introduction
The evolution that we learned about in school is the evolution of physical form we learned, for example, that the single-celled creatures of the oceans are the predecessors of all more complex forms of life. A fish is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a sponge; a horse is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a snake; a monkey is more complex, and, therefore, more evolved than a horse, and so on, up to human beings which are the most complex, and, therefore, the most evolved Life forms upon our planet. We were taught, in other words, that evolution means the progressive development of organizational complexity.
This definition is an expression of the idea that the organism that is best able to control both its environment and all of the other organisms in its environment is the most evolved. "Survival of the fittest" means that the most evolved organism in a given environment is the organism that is at the top of the food chain in that environment. According to this definition, therefore, the organism that is most able to ensure its own survival, most able to serve its self-preservation, is the most evolved.
We have long known that this definition of evolution is inadequate, but we have not known why. When two humans engage one another, they are, in terms of organizational complexity, equally evolved. If both have the same intelligence, yet one is small-minded, mean and selfish while the other is magnanimous and altruistic, we say that the one who is magnanimous and altruistic is the more evolved. If one human intentionally sacrifices his or her life to save another, by, for example, using his or her own body to shield another from an unseen bullet or a speeding car, we say that the human who sacrificed his or her life, indeed, was one of the most evolved among us. We know these things to be true, but they are at variance with our understanding of evolution.
Jesus, we are told, foresaw the plot against His life, even to the details of how His friends would act and react, yet He did not run from what He saw. The entirety of humankind has been inexorably shaped by the power and love of One who gave His life for others. All who revere Him, and almost all who but know His story, agree that He was one of the most evolved of our species.
Our deeper understanding tells us that a truly evolved being is one that values others more than it values itself, and that values love more than it values the physical world and what is in it. We must now bring our understanding of evolution into alignment with this deeper understanding. It is important that we do this because our current understanding of evolution reflects the phase of evolution that we are now leaving. By examining this understanding, we can perceive how we have evolved to now, and what we are now in the process of leaving behind. By reflecting upon a new and expanded understanding of evolution, one that validates our deepest truths, we can see what we are evolving into, and what that means in terms of what we experience, what we value, and how we act.
Our current understanding of evolution results from the fact that we have evolved until now by exploring physical reality with our five senses. We have been, until now, five-sensory human beings. This path of evolution has allowed us to see the basic principles of the Universe in concrete ways. We see through our five senses that every action is a cause that has an effect, and that every effect has a cause. We see the results of our intentions. We see that rage kills: it takes away breath — the Life force — and it spills blood — the carrier of vitality. We see that kindness nurtures. We see and feel the effects of a snarl and a smile.
We experience our ability to process knowledge. We see, for example, that a stick is a tool, and we see the effects of how we choose to use it. The club that kills can drive a stake into the ground to hold a shelter. The spear that takes a life can be used as a lever to ease life's burdens. The knife that cuts flesh can be used to cut cloth. The hands that build bombs can be used to build schools. The minds that coordinate the activities of violence can coordinate the activities of cooperation.
We see that when the activities of life are infused with reverence, they come alive with meaning and purpose. We see that when reverence is lacking from life's activities, the result is cruelty, violence and loneliness. The physical arena is a magnificent learning environment. It is a school within which, through experimentation, we come to understand what causes us to expand and what causes us to contract, what causes us to grow and what causes us to shrivel, what nourishes our souls and what depletes them, what works and what does not.
When the physical environment is seen only from the five-sensory point of view, physical survival appears to be the fundamental criterion of evolution because no other kind of evolution is detectable. It is from this point of view that "survival of the fittest" appears to be synonymous with evolution, and physical dominance appears to characterize advanced evolution.
When perception of the physical world is limited to the five-sensory modality, the basis of life in the physical arena becomes fear. Power to control the environment, and those within the environment appears to be essential.
The need for physical dominance produces a type of competition that affects every aspect of our lives. It affects relationships between lovers and between superpowers, between siblings and between races, between classes and between sexes. It disrupts the natural tendency toward harmony between nations and between friends. The same energy that sent warships to the Persian Gulf sent soldiers to Vietnam and Crusaders to Palestine. The energy that separated the family of Romeo from the family of Juliet is the same energy that separates the racial family of the black husband from the racial family of the white wife. The energy that set Lee Harvey Oswald against John Kennedy is the same energy that set Cain against Abel. Brothers and sisters quarrel for the same reason that corporations quarrel — they seek power over one another.
The power to control the environment, and those within it, is power over what can be felt, smelled, tasted, heard or seen. This type of power is external power. External power can be acquired or lost, as in the stock market or an election. It can be bought or stolen, transferred or inherited. It is thought of as something that can be gotten from someone else, or somewhere else. One person's gain of external power is perceived as another person's loss. The result of seeing power as external is violence and destruction. All of our institutions — social, economic and political — reflect our understanding of power as external.
Families, like cultures, are patriarchal or matriarchal. One person "wears the pants." Children learn this early, and it shapes their lives.
Police departments, like the military, are produced by the perception of power as external. Badge, boots, rank, radio, uniform, weapons, and armor are symbols of fear. Those who wear them are fearful. They fear to engage the world without defenses. Those who encounter these symbols are fearful. They fear the power that these symbols represent, or they fear those whom they expect this power to contain, or they fear both. The police and the military, like patriarchal and matriarchal families and cultures, are not origins of the perception of power as external. They are reflections of the way that we, as a species and as individuals, have come to view power.
The perception of power as external has shaped our economics. The ability to control economies, within communities and within nations, and the ability to control the transnational economy of the world, is concentrated
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