The Evolutionary Process
We may call it evolution if we wish but the actuality is not quite the same. The universe is being guided to follow the World-Idea–this is the essence of what is happening.
The process of human evolution serves a twofold purpose. The first is to develop the physical, emotional, and intellectual characteristics. The second is to lead the individual to enquire into, and become fully conscious of, his divine origin.
… Man began to think when he began to forget his Overself. However, the forces of evolution will so work that one day he will learn to remember his divinity and yet use his intellect at will without losing this remembrance.
Man, in his earlier phases of being, was connected with the Overself and aware of it. But his connection lacked his own control. Eventually, to fulfil the purpose of evolution, he lost this connection and with it his awareness. Now he has to regain the connection and reawaken this awareness by his own efforts and out of his own inner activity, through his own desiring and in his own individual freedom. What has he gained by this change to compensate the loss? His consciousness has become more sharply focused and consequently more clearly aware.
The eventual trend of evolution is through and away from personality, as we now know it. We shall find ourselves afresh in a higher individuality, the soul. To achieve this, the lower characteristics have slowly to be shed. In this sense, we do die to the earthly self and are born again in the higher self. That is the only real death awaiting us.
The mineral, the plant, and the animal have the infinite Life-Power within them, too, but they do not know that they have it. Man alone can know his own divinity…
No living creature in the kingdom of animals knows more than its immediate surroundings or cares for more than the sustenance of its immediate existence. It lives in an immense and varied universe but that fact is lost to its mentality and outside its interest. Only when the evolving entity attains the stage of developed human beings does this unconsciousness disappear. Then life takes on a larger meaning and the life-force becomes aware of itself, individualized, self-conscious. Only then does a higher purpose become possible and apparent.
The self of every creature is divine Being, the ultimate Consciousness, but only when evolution brings it to the human level does it have the possibility of discovering this fact.
Everything that has feeling or awareness, however dim, is capable of developing to higher and higher forms of existence. But only when it is individuated and attains the human form does it fulfil its possibilities.
What is the use of reproaching a fly for not being a bird or its inability to travel as far or look as beautiful? Yet this is what they do who deplore others’ bad behaviour and spiritual ignorance.
The differences in consciousness between an amoeba, an insect, an animal, and a human represent a line of growth.
Man can come into the personal knowledge that there is this unseen power out of which the whole universe is being derived, including himself. But neither the animal nor the plant can come into this knowledge. Here we see what evolution means and why it is necessary.
There are different stages in the development of people: some stand on the lower, some on the higher ones–and others fill in the space between. There is no equality among human beings, in character or manners, in intelligence or intuitiveness…
Where so many creatures are at early stages of descent into ego-experience and ego-development, it is foolish to expect them to respond to teachings suitable for advanced stages alone–where the need is for growing release from the ego. The first group naturally and inevitably has different, even opposing, outlooks, trends, ideas, beliefs, inclinations, and desires from those of the second one. It wants to fatten the ego, whereas the other wants to thin it down…
At any given moment, a man thinks and acts according to, and as a result of, his whole mental and physical experience of life and his whole character and nature. These cannot be limited to the single short life on earth he now knows, for that will not explain many of his tendencies and traits. They must include all his previous lives.
… It is not the Overself that suffers and struggles during this long unfoldment but its child, the ego. It is not the Overself that slowly expands its intelligence and consciousness, but the ego. It is not the Overself that gets deluded by ignorance and passion, by selfishness and extroversion, but the ego…
The choice between submitting or not submitting to his animal genes and hormones belongs to man, but the tendency to follow them belongs to the earlier stage; it is very, very ancient and is coming under his control very, very slowly. He fulfils himself as truly human when this transcendence of his ancestry is complete.
To make the result dependent on grace alone would be to deny the existence and power of the universal law of recompense. The need of effort can only be ignored by those who fail to see that it plays an indispensable part in all evolution, from the lowly physical to the lofty spiritual.
This is the paradox, or irony, of evolution: that first the ego grows into full being through plant, animal, and human form; then it reverses the objective and assents to its own alteration and death.
… The development of all beings from primitive amoeba to perfect spiritual consciousness is assured.
… The ego comes to slow birth in finite consciousness out of utter unconsciousness and, later, to recognition and union with its infinite source. That source, whence it has emanated, remains untouched, unaffected, ever knowing and serenely witnessing. The purpose in this evolution is the ego’s own advancement. When the Quest is reached, the Overself reveals its presence fitfully and brokenly at first but later the hide-and-seek game ends in loving union.
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