A Wondrous Thunder Rends it All Asunder (12.07.11)
How do we prophylactically avoid having our tower blasted by the thunderbolt? Easy. We will invite a bad case of thunderclap if we misconscrew evolution. That is, to express it in biological terms, extinction -- the ultimate bolt out of the blue -- occurs as a result of overspecialization, which confers a temporary advantage but ends up "painting one into an evolutionary coroner," so to speak.
Why are human beings atop the evolutionary heap? Because we specialize in generalization, in a way that no other animal can or ever will. In human beings, intelligence has wrapped around itself in order to produce self-consciousness, and therefore abstract thinking -- or virtual manipulation in the absence of the immediate object.
In my book, I advanced a theory -- which is mine -- of how I believe it came about that human brains became capable of hosting divine souls. Again, it has to do with the evolutionary development of the neurologically incomplete and helpless infant, and all this entails (in short, the infant "creates" the empathic and caring mother, who in turn enlists the protecting father). Space doesn't permit going into all of the details here, but the point is that humanness emerges within this trialectic transitional space. Infants specialize in helplessness, which is the gateway to human generalization.
Because of this arrangement, human infancy (in the collective) represents a kind of infinite potential, which is the precise opposite of specialization. Who could say what human potential remains to be actualized? One could not say this of any other animal, for their existence and their potential are roughly equivalent. The only exception is when humans interfere and bring out potential that would have otherwise remained latent, e.g., turning a mere canine into a seeing-eye dog, or Mike Tyson into a boxer.
So human beings are the ultimate generalists, and this is one of the keys to avoiding the tower and the thunderbolt. UF writes that it involves "the way of general growth or that of 'humbling oneself to the role of a seed,'" in contrast to "the ways of specialization or those of 'exalting oneself by building towers." In short, it is the way of growth vs. the way of building.
Now, growth is not just some local biological phenomenon somehow attached to an otherwise dead and fully exterior cosmos. Frankly, it is both absurd and incoherent to suggest that interiority could have ever resulted from pure exteriority. In other words, biological, psychological, and spiritual growth are not to be thought of as bugs, but features, of the cosmos.
And what is growth? It is a kind of dynamic interior unity with a developmental vector. Growth always wishes to "realize" its possibilities, so it is unavoidably teleological. To say "growth" is to say "teleology." Otherwise it isn't growth, just "expansion" or perhaps "metastasis," that is, the disorganized manner in which a cancer "grows."
The tower -- because it is a narrow specialization -- always leads to a spiritual impasse, at least if one attempts to elevate it to a metaphysical generalization. This is what scientism does, and the spiritual consequences are obviously catastrophic, being more or less synonymous with "hell."
For example, other animals "act out" evolution, but only human beings -- because of their generalization -- know about it. As a result, evolution -- ipso facto -- can never "contain" human beings. Rather, we contain it -- so long as we are contained by O.
For ultimately, it all comes back, down, and up to O. Last night I read a nice passage by Sri Aurobindo, in which he discusses the realization of God. In it, I will substitute O for Brahman, because I think it expresses it in an exceptionally clear and concise manner (one could no doubt locate a similar passage by Eckhart or Denys):
"We have to perceive O comprehensively as both the Stable and the Moving. We must see it in eternal and immutable Spirit and in all the changing manifestations of universe and relativity.
"We have to perceive all things in Space and Time, the far and the near, the immemorial Past, the immediate Present, the infinite Future with all their contents and happenings as O.
"We have to perceive O as that which exceeds, contains and supports all individual things as well as all universe, transcendentally of Time and Space and Causality. We have to perceive O also as that which lives in and possesses the universe and all it contains."
This passage touches on all the main characteristics of the "higher third" of God-realization, which is the ultimate generalization, but simultaneously the ultimate specialization, in that human beings "specialize in God." For at the end of the deity, he is the vector of our interior growth. Failing to follow that vector results in a corrective thunderbolt. If you're lucky.