“Evolution is best thought of as Spirit-in-action, God-in-the making, where Spirit unfolds itself at every stage of development, thus manifesting more of itself, and realizing more of itself, at every unfolding. Spirit is not some particular stage, or some favorite ideology, or some specific god or goddess, but rather the entire process of unfolding itself, an infinite process that is completely present at every finite stage, but becomes more available to itself with every evolutionary opening.”
A Brief History of Everything p. 61
Recently a friend of mine returned home from a pilgrimage to Scotland, visiting sacred sites and deepening his knowledge of Celtic Spirituality. As he shared his experience, I appreciated one particular insight. “Man,” he said, “ while there were no doubt wise beings in those early days, most people were horrible to each other. Despite all the trouble in our world today, it’s clear we are evolving.” I agree as previous posts attest; however I know many people do not.
Some people see our process as cyclical with humankind repeating the mistakes of the past repeatedly. Others believe we are actually devolving and look to the idyllic past for salvation. However many, including Hegel, Aurobindo, Teilhard, Gebser and Wilber, see human consciousness as a work in progress. Why do Wilber and those upon whose shoulders he stands see human consciousness as a work in progress? Because it is the basis of many of our spiritual traditions and the evidence of dozens of researchers’ cross cultural studies of the variety of ways in which we develop.
It appears that evolution is indeed Spirit-in-Action, as Wilber puts it, a self-transcending process that is literally built into the fabric of the universe. Evolution is a creative process that moves beyond yet includes that which went before it. The entire project moves toward increasing depth and complexity. This from Wilber’s point of view is the secret impulse of the universe.
How then to we counter the arguments of those we think we are doomed to endless cycles of creation and destruction or those we think we are sliding backward at an alarming rate? That’s the subject of next week’s post.